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International Journal of Hepatology
Volume 2013, Article ID 310612, 7 pages
Review Article

Implication for Bone Marrow Derived Stem Cells in Hepatocyte Regeneration after Orthotopic Liver Transplantation

1Division of Transplantation, Department of Surgery, Medical University of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, 1090 Vienna, Austria
2Surgical Research Laboratories, Department of Surgery, Medical University of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, 1090 Vienna, Austria

Received 14 June 2013; Revised 5 August 2013; Accepted 12 August 2013

Academic Editor: Arno W. Tilles

Copyright © 2013 N. Pilat et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The liver has the outstanding ability to regenerate itself and restore parenchymal tissue after injury. The most common cell source in liver growth/regeneration is replication of preexisting hepatocytes although liver progenitor cells have been postulated to participate in liver regeneration in cases of massive injury. Bone marrow derived hematopoietic stem cells (BM-HSC) have the formal capacity to act as a source for hepatic regeneration under special circumstances; however, the impact of this process in liver tissue maintenance and regeneration remains controversial. Whether BM-HSC are involved in liver regeneration or not would be of particular interest as the cells have been suggested to be an alternative donor source for the treatment of liver failure. Data from murine models of liver disease show that BM-HSC can repopulate liver tissue and restore liver function; however, data obtained from human liver transplantation show only little evidence for liver regeneration by this mechanism. The cell source for liver regeneration seems to depend on the nature of regeneration process and the extent of injury; however, the precise mechanisms still need to be resolved. Current data suggest, that in human orthotopic liver transplantation, liver regeneration by BM-HSC is a rather rare event and therefore not of clinical relevance.