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Stem cell-derived macrophages could treat liver fibrosis

24 May 2017

Macrophages derived from embryonic stem cells in the laboratory reduce tissue damage in a mouse model of chronic liver disease. 

Lesley Forrester and colleagues injected murine embryonic stem-cell-derived macrophages (ESDM) into mice with induced liver fibrosis. They demonstrated that ESDM reduced liver fibrosis to 50% compared to control mice  that were injected with saline.

ESDM were similar in shape and size to bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDM), previously found to reduce fibrosis and improve liver function in mice with induced liver injury. 

Using a novel cell imaging technique, the team found ESDM engulfed fewer particles at a slower rate than BMDM, indicating ESDM cause less of an inflammatory response. 

This is the first study to demonstrate a therapeutic effect of these cells grown in a laboratory and used in a model of chronic liver disease.

The study team also produced macrophages from human induced pluripotent stem cells but more work is needed to optimise these techniques before considering such treatment in humans.

This article was published in npj Regenerative Medicine 2, Article number: 14 (2017). doi:10.1038/s41536-017-0017-0


Robin Morton
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