Treatment with hepatocyte transplantation in a novel mouse model of persistent liver failure

Yuki Tamaki, Yuria Shibata, Misaki Hayakawa, Nodoka Kato, Ami Machii, Yuma Ikeda, Eri Nanizawa, Yumi Hayashi, Hiroshi Suemizu, Hiroyasu Ito, Tetsuya Ishikawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Aim: Cell-based transplantation therapy using hepatocytes, hepatic stem cells, hepatocyte-like cells induced from stem cells, etc. is thought to be an attractive alternative to liver transplantation, and have been studied to date. For its clinical application, however, it is extremely important to develop a model that reproduces the pathological conditions with indication for treatment and enables the study for the ideal treatment strategy. Methods: The transgenic mice which express the thymidine kinase (TK) gene of human herpes simplex virus (HSV) in their hepatocytes with normal immunity has been developed (designated as HSVtk). After ganciclovir (GCV) administration which injure TK-expressing hepatocytes, the primary hepatocytes (PHs) isolated from green fluorescent protein (GFP) transgenic mouse (GFP-tg) were transplanted to HSVtk intrasplenically, and replacement index (RI) with transplanted PHs in the liver, liver histology, and mRNA expressions in the liver were analyzed up to 8 weeks after transplantation. Results: HSVtk without PH transplantation after GCV administration developed persistent liver failure with degenerated hepatocytes, persistent elevation of ALT and hepatic p16 mRNA levels, suggesting the existence of cellular senescence in the base of the disease. When autologous GFP-PHs were transplanted to HSVtk, the transplanted cells were successfully engrafted in the liver. Eight weeks after transplantation, serum ALT levels and liver histology were almost normalized, while RIs varied from 19.8 to 73.8%. Since the hepatic p16 mRNA levels were decreased significantly in these mice, the senescence of hepatocytes associated with liver injury was thought to be resolved. On the other hand, allogenic GFP-PHs transplanted to HSVtk were eliminated as early as 1 week after transplantation. In these mice, hepatic p16 mRNA levels were significantly increased at 8 weeks after transplantation, suggesting the aggravation of hepatocyte senescence. FK506 administration to HSVtk protected the transplanted hepatocytes with allogenic background from rejection at 2 weeks after transplantation, but the condition of mice and the senescent status in the liver seemed worsened. Conclusions: The mouse model with HSVtk/GCV system was useful for studying the mechanism of liver regeneration and the immune rejection responses in the hepatocyte transplantation treatment. It may also be utilized to develop the effective remedies to avoid immune rejection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101382
JournalBiochemistry and Biophysics Reports
Publication statusPublished - 12-2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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