E-ISSN 2148-5607
Original Article
Efficacy of autologous mesenchymal stem cell transplantation in patients with liver cirrhosis
1 Department of Gastroenterology, Gülhane Military Medical Academy, Ankara, Turkey  
2 Department of Hematology, Gülhane Military Medical Academy, Ankara, Turkey  
3 Department of Pathology, Gülhane Military Medical Academy, Ankara, Turkey  
4 Department of Public Health, Gülhane Military Medical Academy, Ankara, Turkey  
5 Department of Radiology, Gülhane Military Medical Academy, Ankara, Turkey  
6 Department of Gastroenterology, Türkiye Yüksek Ihtisas Hospital, Ankara, Turkey  
7 Department of Microbiology, Gülhane Military Medical Academy, Ankara, Turkey  
8 Department of Gastroenterology, Bayındır Hospital, Ankara, Turkey  
9 Department of Hematology, Bayındır Hospital, Ankara, Turkey  
Turk J Gastroenterol 2015; 26: 244-250
DOI: 10.5152/tjg.2015.0074
Key Words: Mesenchymal stem cells transplantation, liver cirrhosis, liver biopsy

Background/Aims: Because of several limitations and complications of liver transplantation, new alternative treatment modalities are required for patients with liver cirrhosis. Many study results encourage the use of autologous bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells for liver diseases. In this study, we assessed the impact of autologous mesenchymal stem cell transplantation on liver tissue and liver chemistry.


Materials and Methods: Twenty-five patients with biopsy-proven liver cirrhosis were enrolled in the study. Patients received 1×106 autologous mesenchymal stem cells/kg via a peripheral vein. Biochemical parameters were checked monthly. Periodical radiological screening and liver biopsies before mesenchymal stem cell transplantation were performed after 6 months. Liver specimens were assessed by a pathologist.


Results: No side effect was observed and the mesenchymal stem cell transplantation procedure was well tolerated. Twelve patients completed the study. In 8 patients, improvements in Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) scores were observed. Serum albumin levels markedly increased in the third month. In patients with non-responder hepatitis C, HCV RNA levels both became negative after mesenchymal stem cell transplantation. Histopathological examinations of liver tissues before and at 6 months after transplantation revealed no change in liver tissue regeneration or fibrosis. However, in 5 patients, hepatitis activity index scores decreased.


Conclusion: Autologous mesenchymal stem cell transplantation via peripheral vein is safe and feasible. Consecutive liver biopsy examinations suggested that mesenchymal stem cells could not reach the liver in a sufficient amount. Improvement in patients and clearance of HCV RNA may have occurred through immunomodulatory mediators secreted by transplanted mesenchymal stem cells, namely the “endocrine” effect.

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