BACKGROUND: Several studies have demonstrated that bone marrow contains a subpopulation of stem cells capable of participating in the hepatic regenerative process, even if some reports indicate quite a low level of liver repopulation by human stem cells in the normal and transiently injured liver. AIMS: In order to overcome the low engraftment levels seen in previous models, we tried the direct intraperitoneal administration of human cord blood stem cells, using a model of hepatic damage induced by allyl alcohol in NOD/SCID mice. METHODS: We designed a protocol based on stem cell infusion following liver damage in the absence of irradiation. Flow cytometry, histology, immunohistochemistry and RT-PCR for human hepatic markers were performed to monitor human cell engraftment. RESULTS: Human stem cells were able to transdifferentiate into hepatocytes, to improve liver regeneration after damage and to reduce the mortality rate both in both protocols, even if with qualitative and quantitative differences in the transdifferentiation process. CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrated for the first time that the intraperitoneal administration of stem cells can guarantee a rapid liver engraftment. Moreover, the new protocol based on stem cell infusion following liver damage in the absence of irradiation may represent a step forward for the clinical application of stem cell transplantation.
- cord stem cell
- human umbilical