1. University of Kragujevac, Serbia, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Department of Genetics;
2. University of Kragujevac, Serbia, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Department of Microbiology and immunology, Center for Molecular Medicine and Stem Cell Research;
3. Department of medical genetics, Medical University Sofia, Sofia, Bulgaria;
4. Institute of Anatomy, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland;
5. Spebo Medical, Leskovac, Serbia.
Acute liver failure and cirrhosis display sequential and overlapping severe pathogenic processes that include inflammation, hepatocyte necrosis, and fibrosis, carrying a high mortality rate. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are a heterogeneous subset of stromal stem cells with immunonodulatory characteristics. MSCs are considered to act through multiple mechanisms to coordinate a dynamic, integrated response to liver inflammation and fibrosis, which prevents the progressive distortion of hepatic architecture. Accordingly, MSCs as well as their products have been investigated as a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of inflammatory and fibrotic liver diseases.
In this review, we highlight the current findings on the MSC-based modulation of liver inflammation and fibrosis, and the possible use of MSCs in the therapy of immune-mediated liver pathology. We briefly describe the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in MSC-dependent modulation of cytokine production, phenotype and function of liver infiltrated inflammatory cells and compare effects of engrafted MSCs versus MSC-generated conditioned medium (MSC-CM) in the therapy of acute liver injury. In order to elucidate therapeutic potential of MSCs and their products in modulation of chronic liver inflammation and fibrosis, we present the current findings regarding pathogenic role of immune cells in liver fibrosis and describe mechanisms involved in MSC-dependent modulation of chronic liver inflammation with the brief overview of on-going and already published clinical trials that used MSCs for the treatment of immune mediated chronic liver diseases. The accumulating evidence shows that MSCs had a significant beneficial effect in the treatment of immune-mediated liver diseases.
Keywords: mesenchymal stem cells, immune response, acute liver failure, cirrhosis, therapy.