Which is better source for functional hepatocytes?

Naoki Tanimizu, Toshihiro Mitaka


The liver performed many physiological functions essential for life. Despite of its strong regenerative capability, the liver cannot fully restore its physiological functions when it is exposed to chronic liver injuries. Since most of liver functions depend on hepatocytes, it is crucial to compensate the lost functions by supplying functional cells for treatment of liver diseases (Figure 1). Liver transplantation is an effective therapy for patients suffering from severe liver diseases, though the number of donor is absolutely limited. Alternatively, cell transplantation has been considered as a therapeutic treatment. Therefore, researchers have been working to find a good source for generating hepatocytes ex vivo and establish protocols inducing hepatic functions comparable to mature hepatocytes (MHs).