ABSTRACT: The transplantation of bone marrow cells (BMCs) has been applied in liver regenerative cell therapy. However, details of the interaction between the transplanted BMCs and hepatic stem cells have not been elucidated. The aim of the present study was to investigate the interaction of BMCs with hepatic stem-like cells (HSLCs) and to determine the BMC factor that steers HSLC differentiation into the hepatocyte lineage. Both BMCs and HSLCs were obtained from an adult Sprague-Dawley rat, and a co-culture system was established. Cell proliferation was analyzed by a proliferation assay, and the differentiation of HSLCs into the hepatocyte lineage was evaluated by the detection of cellular mRNA for liver-specific proteins. DNA microarray analysis was applied to BMCs co-cultured with HSLCs to determine the genes upregulated by their interaction. The proliferation of HSLCs co-cultured with BMCs was significantly higher than that of HSLCs cultured alone, and the expression of mRNAs for both albumin and tryptophan-2,3-dioxygenase was detectable in the co-cultured HSLCs. DNA microarray analysis showed the upregulated expression of fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) mRNA in BMCs co-cultured with HSLCs, and the expression of mRNAs for both albumin and tyrosine aminotransferase became detectable in HSLCs cultured with FGF2. Thus, BMCs stimulate both the proliferation of HSLCs and their differentiation into the hepatocyte lineage. FGF2 is one of the factors that is produced by the interacting BMCs and that stimulates this differentiation.
Cell and Tissue Research 02/2011; 343(2):371-8. · 3.11 Impact Factor