Cirrhosis occurs as a result of various chronic liver injuries, which may be caused by viral infections, alcohol abuse and the administration of drugs and chemicals. Recently, bone marrow cells (BMCs), hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been used for developing treatments for cirrhosis. Clinical trials have investigated the therapeutic potential of BMCs, HSCs and MSCs for the treatment of cirrhosis based on their potential to differentiate into hepatocytes. Although the therapeutic mechanisms of BMC, HSC and MSC treatments are still not fully characterized, the evidence thus far has indicated that the potential therapeutic mechanisms of MSCs are clearer than those of BMCs or HSCs with respect to liver regenerative medicine. MSCs suppress inflammatory responses, reduce hepatocyte apoptosis, increase hepatocyte regeneration, reverse liver fibrosis and enhance liver functionality. This paper summarizes the clinical studies that have used BMCs, HSCs and MSCs in patients with liver failure or cirrhosis. We also present the potential therapeutic mechanisms of BMCs, HSCs and MSCs for the improvement of liver function.
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© The Author(s) 2015.
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