Cell therapy in chronic liver disease

Clara T. Nicolas, Yujia Wang, Scott L. Nyberg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Purpose of review To date, the only curative treatment for end-stage liver disease is liver transplantation, which is limited by the shortage of available organs. Cell therapy, in the form of cell transplantation or cell-based extracorporeal support devices, may in the future offer an alternative to transplantation, or at least provide liver function support as a bridging therapy until surgery may be performed. The purpose of this review is to highlight the most recent advances made in the field of cell therapy and regenerative medicine for the treatment of chronic liver disease. Recent findings After hepatocyte transplantation, long-term engraftment in the liver and spleen may be achieved, which can be stimulated through preconditioning, multiple infusions, and inflammatory response blockade. Mesenchymal stem cells are promising candidates for cell transplantation, as they have been shown to reduce liver fibrosis and support endogenous regeneration. Adipose tissue-derived stem cells are also being tested in this setting, because of their ready availability. Bioartificial liver devices are being built that allow for effective preservation of hepatocytes, and one such device has recently demonstrated survival benefit in a porcine model of liver failure. Summary Cell transplantation of primary hepatocytes or stem cell-derived hepatocyte-like cells for the treatment of chronic liver disease holds promise. Bioartificial liver systems may in the future be able to bridge acute-on-chronic liver failure patients to liver transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-194
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Gastroenterology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2016


  • Bioartificial liver
  • Cell therapy
  • Chronic liver disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


Dive into the research topics of 'Cell therapy in chronic liver disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this