Induced pluripotent stem cell-derived hepatocytes have the functional and proliferative capabilities needed for liver regeneration in mice.
ABSTRACT: The ability to generate induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from a patient's somatic cells has provided a foundation for organ regeneration without the need for immune suppression. However, it has not been established that the differentiated progeny of iPS cells can effectively reverse failure of a vital organ. Here, we examined whether iPS cell-derived hepatocytes have both the functional and proliferative capabilities needed for liver regeneration in mice with fumarylacetoacetate hydrolase deficiency. To avoid biases resulting from random genomic integration, we used iPS cells generated without viruses. To exclude compensation by hepatocytes not derived from iPS cells, we generated chimeric mice in which all hepatocytes were iPS cell derived. In vivo analyses showed that iPS cells were intrinsically able to differentiate into fully mature hepatocytes that provided full liver function. The iPS cell-derived hepatocytes also replicated the unique proliferative capabilities of normal hepatocytes and were able to regenerate the liver after transplantation and two-thirds partial hepatectomy. Thus, our results establish the feasibility of using iPS cells generated in a clinically acceptable fashion for rapid and stable liver regeneration.
Project description:Hepatoblasts, hepatic stem/progenitor cells in liver development, have a high proliferative potential and the ability to differentiate into both hepatocytes and cholangiocytes. In regenerative medicine and drug screening for the treatment of severe liver diseases, human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell-derived mature functional hepatocytes are considered to be a potentially good cell source. However, induction of proliferation of these cells is difficult ex vivo. To circumvent this problem, we generated hepatic progenitor-like cells from human iPS cells using serial cytokine treatments in vitro. Highly proliferative hepatic progenitor-like cells were purified by fluorescence-activated cell sorting using antibodies against CD13 and CD133 that are known cell surface markers of hepatic stem/progenitor cells in fetal and adult mouse livers. When the purified CD13(high)CD133(+) cells were cultured at a low density with feeder cells in the presence of suitable growth factors and signaling inhibitors (ALK inhibitor A-83-01 and ROCK inhibitor Y-27632), individual cells gave rise to relatively large colonies. These colonies consisted of two types of cells expressing hepatocytic marker genes (hepatocyte nuclear factor 4? and ?-fetoprotein) and a cholangiocytic marker gene (cytokeratin 7), and continued to proliferate over long periods of time. In a spheroid formation assay, these cells were found to express genes required for mature liver function, such as cytochrome P450 enzymes, and secrete albumin. When these cells were cultured in a suitable extracellular matrix gel, they eventually formed a cholangiocytic cyst-like structure with epithelial polarity, suggesting that human iPS cell-derived hepatic progenitor-like cells have a bipotent differentiation ability. Collectively these data indicate that this novel procedure using an in vitro expansion system is useful for not only liver regeneration but also for the determination of molecular mechanisms that regulate liver development.
Project description:Parthenogenesis is the development of an oocyte without fertilization. Mammalian parthenogenetic (PG) embryos are not viable, but can develop into blastocysts from which embryonic stem cells (ESCs) have been derived in mouse and human. PG ESCs are frequently homozygous for alleles encoding major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules. MHC homozygosity permits much more efficient immune matching than MHC heterozygosity found in conventional ESCs, making PG ESCs a promising cell source for cell therapies requiring no or little immune suppression. However, findings of restricted differentiation and proliferation of PG cells in developmental chimeras have cast doubt on the potential of PG ESC derivatives for organ regeneration. To address this uncertainty, we determined whether PG ESC derivatives are effective in rescuing mice with lethal liver failure due to deficiency of fumarylacetoacetate hydrolase (Fah). In developmental chimeras generated by injecting wild-type PG ESCs into Fah-deficient blastocysts, PG ESCs differentiated into hepatocytes that could repopulate the liver, provide normal liver function, and facilitate long-term survival of adult mice. Moreover, after transplantation into adult Fah-deficient mice, PG ESC-derived hepatocytes efficiently engrafted and proliferated, leading to high-level liver repopulation. Our results show that--despite the absence of a paternal genome--PG ESCs can form therapeutically effective hepatocytes.
Project description:Adult liver regeneration requires induction and suppression of proliferative activity in multiple types of liver cells. The mechanisms that orchestrate the global changes in gene expression that are required for proliferative activity to change within individual liver cells, and that coordinate proliferative activity among different types of liver cells, are not well understood. Morphogenic signaling pathways that are active during fetal development, including Hedgehog and Hippo/Yes-associated protein 1 (Yap1), regulate liver regeneration in adulthood. Cirrhosis and liver cancer result when these pathways become dysregulated, but relatively little is known about the mechanisms that coordinate and control morphogenic signaling during effective liver regeneration. We evaluated the hypothesis that the Hedgehog pathway controls Yap1 activation during liver regeneration by studying intact mice and cultured liver cells. In cultured hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), disrupting Hedgehog signaling blocked activation of Yap1, and knocking down Yap1 inhibited induction of both Yap1- and Hedgehog-regulated genes that enable HSC to become myofibroblasts (MFs). In mice, disrupting Hedgehog signaling in MFs inhibited liver regeneration after partial hepactectomy (PH). Reduced proliferative activity in the liver epithelial compartment resulted from loss of stroma-derived paracrine signals that activate Yap1 and the Hedgehog pathway in hepatocytes. This prevented hepatocytes from up-regulating Yap1- and Hedgehog-regulated transcription factors that normally promote their proliferation.Morphogenic signaling in HSCs is necessary to reprogram hepatocytes to regenerate the liver epithelial compartment post-PH. This discovery identifies novel molecules that might be targeted to correct defective repair during cirrhosis and liver cancer. (Hepatology 2016;64:232-244).
Project description:The emergence of cells with hepatocellular properties in the adult pancreas has been described in several experimental models. To determine whether adult pancreas contains cells that can give rise to therapeutically useful and biochemically normal hepatocytes, we transplanted suspensions of wild-type mouse pancreatic cells into syngeneic recipients deficient in fumarylacetoacetate hydrolase and manifesting tyrosinemia. Four of 34 (12%) mutant mice analyzed were fully rescued by donor-derived cells and had normal liver function. Ten additional mice (29%) showed histological evidence of donor-derived hepatocytes in the liver. Previous work has suggested that pancreatic liver precursors reside within or close to pancreatic ducts. We therefore performed additional transplantations using either primary cell suspensions enriched for ducts or cultured ducts. Forty-four mutant mice were transplanted with cells enriched for pancreatic duct cells, but only three of the 34 (9%) recipients analyzed displayed donor-derived hepatocytes. In addition, 28 of the fumarylacetoacetate hydrolase-deficient mice were transplanted with cultured pancreatic duct cells, but no donor-derived hepatocytes were observed. Our results demonstrate for the first time that adult mouse pancreas contains hepatocyte progenitor cells capable of significant therapeutic liver reconstitution. However, contrary to previous reports, we were unable to detect these cells within the duct compartment.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Liver injuries are important medical problems that require effective therapy. Stem cell or hepatocyte transplantation has the potential to restore function of the damaged liver and ameliorate injury. However, the regulatory factors crucial for the repair and regeneration after cell transplantation have not been fully characterized. Our study investigated the effects and the expression of the regulatory factors in mouse models of acute liver injury either transplanted with the induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) or the hepatocytes that differentiated from iPS cells (iHL). METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Mice received CCl(4) injection and were randomized to receive vehicle, iPS, or iHL transfusions vial tail veins and were observed for 24, 48 or 72 hours. The group of mice with iPS transplantation performed better than the group of mice receiving iHL in reducing the serum alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, and liver necrosis areas at 24 hours after CCl(4) injury. Moreover, iPS significantly increased the numbers of proliferating hepatocytes at 48 hours. Cytokine array identified that chemokine IP-10 could be the potential regulatory factor that ameliorates liver injury. Further studies revealed that iPS secreted IP-10 in vitro and transfusion of iPS increased IP-10 protein and mRNA expressions in the injured livers in vivo. The primary hepatocytes and non-parenchyma cells were isolated from normal and injured livers. Hepatocytes from injured livers that received iPS treatment expressed more IP-10 mRNA than their non-hepatocyte counter-parts. In addition, animal studies revealed that administration of recombinant IP-10 (rIP-10) effectively reduced liver injuries while IP-10-neutralizing antibody attenuated the protective effects of iPS and decreased hepatocyte proliferation. Both iPS and rIP-10 significantly reduced the 72-hour mortality rate in mice that received multiple CCl(4)-injuries. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: These findings suggested that IP-10 may have an important regulatory role in facilitating the repair and regeneration of injured liver after iPS transplantation.
Project description:Exosomes are small membrane vesicles involved in intercellular communication. Hepatocytes are known to release exosomes, but little is known about their biological function. We sought to determine if exosomes derived from hepatocytes contribute to liver repair and regeneration after injury.Exosomes derived from primary murine hepatocytes were isolated and characterized biochemically and biophysically. Using cultures of primary hepatocytes, we tested whether hepatocyte exosomes induced proliferation of hepatocytes in vitro. Using models of ischemia/reperfusion injury and partial hepatectomy, we evaluated whether hepatocyte exosomes promote hepatocyte proliferation and liver regeneration in vivo.Hepatocyte exosomes, but not exosomes from other liver cell types, induce dose-dependent hepatocyte proliferation in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, hepatocyte exosomes directly fuse with target hepatocytes and transfer neutral ceramidase and sphingosine kinase 2 (SK2) causing increased synthesis of sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) within target hepatocytes. Ablation of exosomal SK prevents the proliferative effect of exosomes. After ischemia/reperfusion injury, the number of circulating exosomes with proliferative effects increases.Our data shows that hepatocyte-derived exosomes deliver the synthetic machinery to form S1P in target hepatocytes resulting in cell proliferation and liver regeneration after ischemia/reperfusion injury or partial hepatectomy. These findings represent a potentially novel new contributing mechanism of liver regeneration and have important implications for new therapeutic approaches to acute and chronic liver disease.
Project description:Human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells hold great promise for advancements in developmental biology, cell-based therapy, and modeling of human disease. Here, we examined the use of human iPS cells for modeling inherited metabolic disorders of the liver. Dermal fibroblasts from patients with various inherited metabolic diseases of the liver were used to generate a library of patient-specific human iPS cell lines. Each line was differentiated into hepatocytes using what we believe to be a novel 3-step differentiation protocol in chemically defined conditions. The resulting cells exhibited properties of mature hepatocytes, such as albumin secretion and cytochrome P450 metabolism. Moreover, cells generated from patients with 3 of the inherited metabolic conditions studied in further detail (alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency, familial hypercholesterolemia, and glycogen storage disease type 1a) were found to recapitulate key pathological features of the diseases affecting the patients from which they were derived, such as aggregation of misfolded alpha1-antitrypsin in the endoplasmic reticulum, deficient LDL receptor-mediated cholesterol uptake, and elevated lipid and glycogen accumulation. Therefore, we report a simple and effective platform for hepatocyte generation from patient-specific human iPS cells. These patient-derived hepatocytes demonstrate that it is possible to model diseases whose phenotypes are caused by pathological dysregulation of key processes within adult cells.
Project description:Understanding the molecular basis of the regenerative response following hepatic injury holds promise for improved treatment of liver diseases. Here, we report an innovative method to profile gene expression specifically in the hepatocytes that regenerate the liver following toxic injury. We used the Fah-/- mouse, a model of hereditary tyrosinemia, which conditionally undergoes severe liver injury unless fumarylacetoacetate hydrolase (FAH) expression is reconstituted ectopically. We used translating ribosome affinity purification followed by high-throughput RNA sequencing (TRAP-seq) to isolate mRNAs specific to repopulating hepatocytes. We uncovered upstream regulators and important signaling pathways that are highly enriched in genes changed in regenerating hepatocytes. Specifically, we found that glutathione metabolism, particularly the gene Slc7a11 encoding the cystine/glutamate antiporter (xCT), is massively upregulated during liver regeneration. Furthermore, we show that Slc7a11 overexpression in hepatocytes enhances, and its suppression inhibits, repopulation following toxic injury. TRAP-seq allows cell type-specific expression profiling in repopulating hepatocytes and identified xCT, a factor that supports antioxidant responses during liver regeneration. xCT has potential as a therapeutic target for enhancing liver regeneration in response to liver injury.
Project description:Accumulation of toxic metabolites in hereditary tyrosinemia type I (HT1) patients leads to chronic DNA damage and the highest risk for hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) of any human disease. Here we show that hepatocytes of HT1 mice exhibit a profound cell-cycle arrest that, despite concomitant apoptosis resistance, causes mortality from impaired liver regeneration. However, additional loss of p21 in HT1 mice restores the proliferative capabilities of hepatocytes and renal proximal tubular cells. This growth response compensates cell loss due to uninhibited apoptosis and enables animal survival but rapidly leads to HCCs, renal cysts, and renal carcinomas. Thus, p21's antiproliferative function is indispensable for the suppression of carcinogenesis from chronically injured liver and renal epithelial cells and cannot be compensated by apoptosis.
Project description:Bone-marrow transplantation (BMT) can repopulate the liver through BM-derived hepatocyte (BMDH) generation, although the underlying mechanism remains unclear. Using fumarylacetoacetate hydrolase-deficient (Fah(-/-)) mice as a liver-failure model, we confirmed that BMDHs were generated by fusion of BM-derived CD11b(+)F4/80(+)myelomonocytes with resident Fah(-/-) hepatocytes. Hepatic NK cells became activated during BMDH generation and were the major IFN-? producers. Indeed, both NK cells and IFN-? were required for BMDH generation since WT, but not NK-, IFN-?-, or IFN-?R1-deficient BM transplantation successfully generated BMDHs and rescued survival in Fah(-/-) hosts. BM-derived myelomonocytes were determined to be the IFN-?-responding cells. The IFN-?-IFN-?R interaction contributed to the myelomonocyte-hepatocyte fusion process, as most of the CD11b(+) BMDHs in mixed BM chimeric Fah(-/-) hosts transplanted with a 1:1 ratio of CD45.1(+) WT and CD45.2(+) Ifngr1(-/-) BM cells were of CD45.1(+) WT origin. Confirming these findings in vitro, IFN-? dose-dependently promoted the fusion of GFP(+) myelomonocytes with Fah(-/-) hepatocytes due to a direct effect on myelomonocytes; similar results were observed using activated NK cells. In conclusion, BMDH generation requires NK cells to facilitate myelomonocyte-hepatocyte fusion in an IFN-?-dependent manner, providing new insights for treating severe liver failure.