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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 39  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 6-12

Inducing hepatogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood

1 Department of Clinical Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt
2 Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt
3 Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Faculty of Medicine, Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt
4 Ministry of Health Hospitals, Tanta, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Dareen A Mohamed
Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Tanta University, Tanta, 31111
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1110-1067.124838

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Background and aim The present work aimed to study the ability of human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) derived from umbilical cord blood (UCB) to transdifferentiate into hepatocytes and to assess the characterization of the transformed cells in vitro. Materials and methods MSCs were isolated from 30 UCB samples collected aseptically from completely separated placentas of full-term deliveries. The separation of MSCs was carried out from freshly isolated mononuclear cells suspensions in a primary culture for 2 weeks. MSCs were identified before induction by cytochemical stain for periodic acid-Schiff and morphology. Then, they were induced to transdifferentiate into hepatocytes by hepatogenic medium, and differentiation of hepatocytes was confirmed by morphological and functional assessments of urea production, glycogen storage, and immunocytochemistry of α-fetoprotein. Results We successfully isolated 12 MSCs units from 30 full-term UCB samples (40%). The cells showed positive staining for periodic acid-Schiff, indicating that they retain the characteristics of MSCs. The response of UCB-derived MSCs to hepatogenic medium containing hepatocyte growth factor was assessed by changes in the morphology that occurred within 2 weeks in most of the cells. The morphological changes were observed closely and the induction process was monitored by immunocytochemistry for α-fetoprotein, urea production, and glycogen storage. The results were positive in most of the induced hepatocytes, with some variations from sample to sample because of the variability in the cell count in each UCB unit used. Conclusion We concluded that MSCs in human UCB can differentiate into viable functioning hepatocytes when cultured in hepatogenic conditioned medium in vitro.

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