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Copyright ©2008 The WJG Press and Baishideng. All rights reserved.
World J Gastroenterol. Oct 7, 2008; 14(37): 5730-5737
Published online Oct 7, 2008. doi: 10.3748/wjg.14.5730
Characterization of hepatic progenitors from human fetal liver during second trimester
Mekala Subba Rao, Aleem Ahmed Khan, Nyamath Parveen, Mohammed Aejaz Habeeb, Chittoor Mohammed Habibullah, Gopal Pande
Mekala Subba Rao, Gopal Pande, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Uppal Road, Hyderabad 500007, India
Aleem Ahmed Khan, Nyamath Parveen, Mohammed Aejaz Habeeb, Chittor Mohammed Habibullah, Centre for Liver Research and Diagnostics, Kanchanbagh, Hyderabad 500058, India
Author contributions: Rao MS is a lead worker of this study; Khan AA, Parveen N and Habeeb MA actively carried out the study; Pande G and Habibullah CM supervised the study.
Supported by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research Network Grant CMM002 and ICMR Grant (GAP 0215)
Correspondence to: Gopal Pande, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Uppal Road, Hyderabad 500007, India. gpande@ccmb.res.in
Telephone: +91-40-27192605 Fax: +91-40-27160591
Received: May 23, 2008
Revised: July 19, 2008
Accepted: July 26, 2008
Published online: October 7, 2008

AIM: To enrich hepatic progenitors using epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) as a marker from human fetal liver and investigate the expression of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) and their markers associated with hepatic progenitor cells.

METHODS: EpCAM +ve cells were isolated using magnetic cell sorting (MACS) from human fetuses (n = 10) at 15-25 wk gestation. Expression of markers for hepatic progenitors such as albumin, alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), CD29 (integrin β1), CD49f (integrin α6) and CD90 (Thy 1) was studied by using flow cytometry, immunocytochemistry and RT-PCR; HLA class I (A, B, C) and class II (DR) expression was studied by flow cytometry only.

RESULTS: FACS analysis indicated that EpCAM +ve cells were positive for CD29, CD49f, CD90, CD34, HLA class I, albumin and AFP but negative for HLA class II (DR) and CD45. RT PCR showed that EpCAM +ve cells expressed liver epithelial markers (CK18), biliary specific marker (CK19) and hepatic markers (albumin, AFP). On immunocytochemical staining, EpCAM +ve cells were shown positive signals for CK18 and albumin.

CONCLUSION: Our study suggests that these EpCAM +ve cells can be used as hepatic progenitors for cell transplantation with a minimum risk of alloreactivity and these cells may serve as a potential source for enrichment of hepatic progenitor.

Keywords: Epithelial cell adhesion molecule, Human fetal liver, Hepatic progenitors, Human leukocyte antigen, Hepatic cell therapy