Functional hepatocyte-like cells derived from human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells on a novel 3-dimensional biocompatible nanofibrous scaffold
Aim: To supporting growth and functional differentiation of adult stem cells into hepatocytes in a well-controlled manner, we performed differentiation of human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (hBMSCs) to hepatocytes-like cells on a constructed 3-dimensional (3D) nanofibrous biocompatible scaffold. Methods: After characterization of the hBMSCs isolated from human bone marrow, the performance of the cells seeded and their proliferation on the scaffold was evaluated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazole-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Different approaches such as immunocytochemistry, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), and biochemical assays were used to estimate the ability of hBMSC-derived cells to express hepatocyte-specific markers. Results: Scanning electron micrographs and MTT analysis revealed the cells were able to expand and remained biologically and metabolically active for 21 days. Immunocytochemical analysis of albumin and alpha-fetoprotein showing the accumulation of these markers in differentiated cells was confirmed by RTPCR. Additional markers such as cytochrome P450 3A4, cytokeratin- 18, and cytokeratin-19 detected by RT-PCR showed progressive expression during 3 weeks of differentiation on 3D scaffold. The hepatocyte-like cells displayed several characteristics of metabolic functions as judged by production of albumin, urea, transferrin, serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase (SGOT), and serum oxaloacetate aminotransferase (SGOT). Levels of above-mentioned markers, except SGOT in differentiated cells on scaffold, were found to be significantly greater than in the 2D culture system (p < 0.05). Conclusion: Overall data suggest that the engineered nanofibrous scaffold is a conductive matrix for functional hBMSC-derived hepatocyte-like cells and is promising for maintenance of hepatocytes suitable for implantation.