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Mesenchymal Stem Cells with Enhanced Bcl-2 Expression Promote Liver Recovery in a Rat Model of Hepatic Cirrhosis

13 Dec 2016

Background/Aims: Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) transplantation has emerged as an option for the treatment of chronic hepatic cirrhosis, while its therapeutic efficacy could be improved. The bcl-2 gene is anti-apoptotic and can help cell survival and proliferation. Therefore, we explored whether transplanted MSCs with enhanced bcl-2 expression may be beneficial in the treatment of experimental cirrhosis in rats. Methods: MSCs were isolated from rat bone marrow, expanded in vitro and transfected with adeno-associated virus (AAV) engineered the bcl-2 gene (AAV-bcl-2). Rats with cirrhosis induced by carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) were treated with AAV-bcl-2 infected BMSCs-AAV-bcl-2, with the cells traced in vivo post transplantation. Liver pathology and function were evaluated 7, 14, 21, and 28 days post transplantation, respectively. Results: On day 7 post transplantation, the infused AAV-bcl-2 had integrated into the hepatocyte-like cells (HLCs) that expressed albumin (ALB), Cytokeratin 18 (CK18), and hepatocytes nuclear factor 4a (HNF4a). On day 28 post transplantation, rats in the cirrhosis + BMSCs-AAV-bcl-2 group showed the most dense HLCs, highest mRNA and protein levels of ALB, CK18, and HNF4a, compared to the other groups. Their liver function recovered most rapidly in 4 week observation, while histological sign of cirrhosis remained at the end of this period. Conclusion: BMSCs over expressing bcl-2 gene showed better survival, and enhanced the differentiation into hepatocytes-like cells, and appeared to promote the recovery of liver function in rats with experimental cirrhosis.
Cell Physiol Biochem 2016;40:1117-1128

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry

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