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eISSN: 1643-3750

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Effects of Bone Marrow-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells on Hypoxia and the Transforming Growth Factor beta 1 (TGFβ-1) and SMADs Pathway in a Mouse Model of Cirrhosis

Liting Zhang, Dan Zhou, Junfeng Li, Xiaoming Yan, Jun Zhu, Ping Xiao, Tuo Chen, Xiaodong Xie

(State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Science, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environmental and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, Gansu, China (mainland))

Med Sci Monit 2019; 25:7182-7190

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.916428


BACKGROUND: The role of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) in liver fibrosis remains poorly understood. This study aimed to use a mouse model of carbon tetrachloride (CCL₄)-induced liver fibrosis to investigate the effects of BM-MSCs during liver hypoxia and the involvement of the transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-ß1) and SMADs pathway.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Thirty C57BL/6 mice were randomly divided into the control group (n=10), the model group (n=10), and the BM-MSC-treated model group (n=10). In the model group, liver fibrosis was induced by intraperitoneal injection of CCl₄. BM-MSCs were transplanted after 12 weeks of CCl₄ treatment. The serum biochemical parameters and histological changes in the liver, using histochemical stains, were investigated. The expression of collagen type I (collagen I), alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA), TGF-ß1, SMAD3, SMAD7, hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha (HIF-1alpha), and vascular endothelial grow factor (VEGF) were assessed by immunohistochemistry and quantitative real-time polymerase chain (RT-qPCR) reaction.
RESULTS: Treatment with BM-MSCs reduced the expression of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) compared with the model group, and reduced liver fibrosis determined histologically using hematoxylin and eosin (H&amp;E) and Masson’s trichrome staining compared with the model group. The area of liver fibrosis decreased after BM-MSCs treatment (p<0.05). Protein expression of HIF-1alpha and VEGF were decreased after BM-MSCs treatment (p<0.05). Transplantation of BM-MSCs reduced the mRNA expression of TGF-ß1, collagen I, alpha-SMA, and SMAD3 (p<0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: BM-MSC transplantation reduced CCl₄-induced murine liver fibrosis, indicating that in a hypoxic microenvironment, BM-MSCs may inhibit the TGFß-1/SMADs pathway.

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