Correlation between morphological and biological characteristics of mesenchymal stem cells and hepatocytes derived from rat mesenchymal stem cells in vitro
Hepatocyte dysfunction with the possibility of eventual organ failure is created from most liver diseases. Images of cell morphology can be obtained nondestructively using a conventional inverted microscope. Therefore, this study attempted to investigate several morphological parameters of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and MSCs-derived hepatocytes, in vitro, and their correlation with biological activities. Our results show that MSCs are clonogenic and self-renewal and these cells showed apoptotic property. There were significant difference in confluence rate and doubling time rate among serial passages (P<0.01). When MSCs were cultured with fibroblast growth factor – 4 (FGF-4) and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), approximately 80-90% of cells became small, round and epithelioid on day 21 that was increasingly similar to hepatocytes in appearance. Compared with the control, levels of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), albumin (ALB) and urea increased significantly from day 12, 16 and 20, respectively and were higher on day 24 (P < 0.01). The AFP, ALB and urea production level of the large polygonal cells was markedly higher than that of cells with other morphologies. In conclusion, morphological parameters such as polygonal index, cell adhesion area, morphologic changes, proliferation and double nucleoli rate might be use as an indication of differentiation of bone marrow-MSCs into hepatocytes and their functions.
Key words: Hepatocyte, stem cell, morphological parameter, polygonal index.