Currently, the most effective treatment for end-stage liver fibrosis is liver transplantation; however, transplantation is limited by a shortage of donor organs, surgical complications, immunological rejection, and high medical costs. Recently, mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) therapy has been suggested as an effective alternate approach for the treatment of hepatic diseases. MSCs have the potential to differentiate into hepatocytes, and therapeutic value exists in their immune-modulatory properties and secretion of trophic factors, such as growth factors and cytokines. In addition, MSCs can suppress inflammatory responses, reduce hepatocyte apoptosis, increase hepatocyte regeneration, regress liver fibrosis and enhance liver functionality. Despite these advantages, issues remain; MSCs also have fibrogenic potential and the capacity to promote tumor cell growth and oncogenicity. This paper summarizes the properties of MSCs for regenerative medicine and their therapeutic mechanisms and clinical application in the treatment of liver fibrosis. We also present several outstanding risks, including their fibrogenic potential and their capacity to promote pre-existing tumor cell growth and oncogenicity.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Internal Medicine