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Differentiation of adult progenitor cells (human, rat) into functional hepatocyte-like cells: potential new in vitro models for preclinical research

Monday, 14 May, 2012 - 17:00
Campus: Brussels Health Campus
Faculty: Medicine and Pharmacy
auditorium P. Brouwer
Joery De Kock
phd defence

Although the use of stem cells holds great
promise for in vitro toxicology as well as for
clinical application, enormous challenges are still
ahead. Yet, significant progression is made over
the last years. In the framework of the current
doctoral thesis the broad applicability of an
innovative (patent n° EP1824965B1) three-step
hepatic differentiation strategy that mimics in
vitro the in vivo liver embryogenesis could be
shown. Furthermore, it was reported that the
intrinsic properties of the investigated
stem/progenitor cell population might have a
significant impact on its differentiation potential
as well as the strategy needed to produce the
desired target cells. In this context, it was
confirmed that a stem cell population that
exhibits a higher intrinsic expression of
pluripotency markers and a lower commitment to
the endodermal lineage i.e. human skin-derived
precursors, can be differentiated into hepatic cells
as long as the in vitro differentiation strategy
mimics the earliest stages of liver development in
vivo. In addition, it was shown for the first time
that human skin-derived precursor cells have the
ability to generate hepatic progeny in vivo and
exhibit favorable immunological properties
suggesting their potential for further exploration
in the treatment of various liver diseases. Finally,
a significant reduction of the amount of time
required to decellularize whole rat livers was
achieved. This technology could provide a novel
standard as bioengineering platform to further
promote differentiation and maturation of stem
cells into fully functional hepatocyte-like cells,
thereby opening new possibilities for organ reengineering
and transplantation.

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