NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - German researchers report they
have isolated progenitor cells, the stage above stem cells,
from human liver specimens. When transplanted into mice, the
cells show signs of "taking" and becoming new liver cells.
Dr. Thomas S. Weiss of the University of Regensburg
Hospital and colleagues identified the progenitor cells by
surface "markers," which indicated that they were capable of
becoming liver cell or cells of the bile duct.
As reported in the medical journal Gut, the investigators
demonstrated the potential ability of the cells to become these
different types in lab dish experiments.
Transplantation of the cells into the livers of
immune-suppressed mice resulted in "engraftment," and tests
showed the cells functioned as they should.
Weiss' team concludes that it's possible to isolate liver
progenitor cells, and that they "might be a potential candidate
for cell treatment in liver diseases."
SOURCE: Gut, August 2008.