Hepatocyte transplantation: clinical and experimental application
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Hepatocyte transplantation has been proposed as an alternative to whole-organ transplantation to support many forms of hepatic insufficiency. Based on a significant body of work, the technique of hepatocyte transplantation has recently moved into the clinic in order to reestablish liver function without organ transplantation or to bridge the time between whole-organ liver transplantation. In addition, hepatocyte transplantation has also been proposed as a liver-directed gene therapy for a number of inherited hepatic disorders by transplanting either freshly isolated hepatocytes or genetically altered hepatocytes. To establish a research system based on the developing technology of hepatocyte transplantation, chimeric small animal models using human hepatocytes have recently been established, which would allow the study of human hepatocyte-specific functions, such as hepatitis viral infection and replication in vivo. Various aspects related to the recent progress and existing obstacles in the area of hepatocyte transplantation are summarized in this report.
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