Cutting-edge science offers improved care for liver diseases

What we found was that human umbilical cord blood cells may have the capacity to differentiate into functional liver cells after transplantation into humans," said Sei Kakinuma, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the study. "These cells could be a potentially valuable source of cell transplantation, which could have an enormous positive effect on both acute and chronic liver injury therapy."

In the primary culture, about half of the UCB cells expressed ALB, and the hepatocyte-lineage markers were co-expressed in the ALB-positive cells in a 21-day culture. In addition, five to 10 percent of the ALB-expressing cells co-expressed cytokeratin-19, indicating that they were hepatic progenitor cells. In the transplantation model for chronic liver injury, inoculated UCB cells appeared at higher frequencies than the model for acute injury, and UCB-derived cells produced ALB in the recipient-mouse liver.

Gender, Race and Obesity Determine Differences in Children with Pediatric versus Adult-type NASH Histology (Abstract 105757*)

Potentially life-threatening non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in obese children has distinct characteristics, often different from that found in adults, according to a University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine study led by Dr. Jeffrey Schwimmer, assistant professor of pediatrics. The findings describe a new paradigm for diagnosis in this common condition found in obese children and offer the potential for improved care.

Between 1997 and 2003, the investigators identified 100 children ages two to 18 with biopsy-proven NAFLD. The investigators found clearly different patterns and locations of liver scarring and inflammation in children as compared to that typically seen in adults. They focused on the most severe form of NAFLD, called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, and divided it into two types; the adult pattern or Type 1, and the pediatric pattern or Type 2.

The researchers found t


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