Vol 45, No 3 (2007)
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Published online: 2007-10-24

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The comparison of multipotential for differentiation of progenitor mesenchymal-like stem cells obtained from livers of young and old rats.

Maciej Tarnowski, Halina Koryciak-Komarska, Piotr Czekaj, Ryszard Sebesta, Tomasz M Czekaj, Ksymena Urbanek, Wirginia Likus, Izabela Malinowska-Kolodziej, Danuta Plewka, Grazyna Nowaczyk-Dura, Ryszard Wiaderkiewicz, Aleksander L Sieron
Folia Histochem Cytobiol 2007;45(3):245-254.


The presence of stem cells differentiating to hepatocytes and cholangiocytes has been previously reported in livers of young rats. Here, we have isolated, cultured, and characterized mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from livers of young and old rats and tested their multipotential for differentiation. The mesenchymal stem cells in liver sections were identified by the presence of markers, respectively for primary stem cells Thy-1 and CD34, for differentiation to early cholangiocytes GST and CK19, and for differentiation to hepatocytes GSTalpha and CK18. Ki67 was detected as the cell proliferation marker. Cells isolated from livers of either age group were tested in a culture for their viability following storage and were characterized for the presence of most of the markers detected in cells in situ. The results revealed age-dependent changes in the number of recovered primary MSCs. In both age groups we have observed cells changing under differentiating conditions to liver cell lineages, such as cholangiocytes and hepatocytes, as well as to non-liver cells such as adipocytes, astrocytes, neuroblasts, and osteoblasts. Our data revealed that from the livers of rats 20 months and older the primary MSCs could be isolated and expanded; however, they were significantly fewer, even though their differentiation multipotential was preserved. The mechanism involved in the differentiation of liver MSCs seemed to depend on a constellation of signals in Notch signalling pathways. Thus, our results support the idea of potential use of liver as a source of MSCs, not only for liver reconstruction but also for cell therapy in general.

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