Stem Cell Reviews

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 101–112 | Cite as

Therapeutic Potential of Adult Bone Marrow Stem Cells in Liver Disease and Delivery Approaches

  • You Qing Xu
  • Zun Chang Liu


Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and mesenchymal stem cell (MSCs) are two main subtypes of bone marrow stem cells. Extensive studies have been carried out to investigate the therapeutic potential of BMSCs in liver disease. A number of animal and human studies demonstrated that either HSCs or MSCs could be applied to therapeutic purposes in certain liver diseases. The diseased liver may recruit migratory stem cells, particularly from the bone marrow, to generate hepatocyte-like cells either by transdifferentiation or cell fusion. Transplantation of BMSCs has therapeutic effects of restoration of liver mass and function, alleviation of fibrosis and correction of inherited liver diseases. There are still controversial results over the potential effects of BMSCs on liver diseases, and some of the discrepancies are thought to be lied in the differences of experimental protocols, differences in individual research laboratory, and the uncertainties of the techniques employed. Several potential approaches for BMSCs delivery in liver diseases have been proposed in animal studies and human trials. BMSCs can be delivered via intraportal vein, systemic infusion, intraperitoneal, intrahepatic, intrasplenic. The optimal stem cells delivery should be easy to perform, less invasive and traumatic, minimum side effects, and with high cells survival rate. In this review, we focus on the up-to-date evidence of therapeutic effects of BMSCs on liver disease, the characteristics of various delivery approaches, and the considerations for future studies.


Bone marrow stem cells Liver disease Delivery Haematopoietic stem cells Mesenchymal stem cells 



bone marrow stem cells


hematopoietic stem cells


mesenchymal stem cells




carbon tetrachloride


Nagase analbuminemic rat


fumarylacetoacetate hydrolase


granulocyte colony-stimulating factor


matrix metalloproteinase 9


hepatocyte growth factor


stromal cell-derived factor-1


fluorescence in situ hybridization


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Copyright information

© Humana Press 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Gastroenterology, Beijing Tiantan HospitalCapital Medical UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Artificial Cells and Organs Research CenterMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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