In Vitro Differentiation of Human Umbilical vein Mesenchymal Stem Cells into Hepatocyte-like Cells

Raoufi A *, Amini , Fathi F , Azadbakht M , Motamedy R , Amini S ,


Objective: Umbilical vein mesenchymal stem cells (UVMSC) which are recently introduced, is one of the good alternative source for mesenchymal stem cells. UVMSC have demonstrated the ability to differentiate into various cell types such as fat, bone, cartilage and neuronal cells. In this study, we have investigated whether human UVMSC are also able to differentiate into hepatocyte-like cells. Materials and Methods: After induction, the differentiation of UVMSCs into cells expressing liver-specific genes was investigated by RT-PCR. Hepatocyte-like cells were evaluated by immunofluorescence staining (IF). Indocyanine green (ICG) was used as a test substance to evaluate hepatocyte-like cells function. Results: The cells showed the remarkable transition from bipolar fibroblast-like morphology to round or oval shape. The temporal gene expression pattern for a number of hepatocyte-specific genes, were detected during differentiation. The IF analysis showed that the differentiated cells were stained positively for hepatic markers. The differentiated hepatocyte-like cells were positive for ICG. Conclusion: Based on these observations, we conclude that UVMSC retain hepatogenic potential suitable for cell therapy and transplantation against intractable liver diseases.