Journal of Gastroenterology

, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 167–172 | Cite as

Hepatic stem/progenitor cells and stem-cell transplantation for the treatment of liver disease

  • Sei Kakinuma
  • Hiromitsu Nakauchi
  • Mamoru Watanabe


Allogeneic liver transplantation is still the only effective treatment available to patients with liver failure. However, because there is a serious shortage of liver donors, an alternative therapeutic approach is needed. Transplantation of mature hepatocytes has been evaluated in clinical trials, but the long-term efficacy remains unclear and the paucity of donor cells limits this strategy. Stem-cell transplantation is a more promising alternative approach. Several studies have provided information about the mechanism underlying the proliferation and differentiation of hepatic stem/progenitor cells. Moreover, in experimental models of liver disease, transplantation of hepatic stem/progenitor cells or hepatocyte-like cells derived from multipotent stem cells led to donor cell-mediated repopulation of the liver and improved survival rates. However, before stem-cell transplantation can be applied in the clinic to treat liver failure in humans, it will be necessary to overcome several difficulties associated with the technique.

Key words

hepatocyte transplantation hierarchy single-cell based analysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sei Kakinuma
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hiromitsu Nakauchi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mamoru Watanabe
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of Stem Cell Therapy, Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, The Institute of Medical ScienceUniversity of TokyoTokyoJapan
  2. 2.JST, ERATONakauchi Stem Cell and Organ Regeneration ProjectTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Department of Gastroenterology and HepatologyTokyo Medical and Dental UniversityTokyoJapan

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