METHODS: Sprague-Dawley rats were injected with CCl4 for 8 weeks to induce irreversible liver fibrosis. Ex-vivo expanded, pooled human MSCs obtained from BM and WJ were intravenously administered into rats with liver fibrosis at a dose of 10 × 106 cells/animal. Sham control and vehicle-treated animals served as negative and disease controls, respectively. The animals were sacrificed at 30 and 70 days after cell transplantation and hepatic-hydroxyproline content, histopathological, and immunohistochemical analyses were performed.
RESULTS: BM-MSCs treatment showed a marked reduction in liver fibrosis as determined by Masson's trichrome and Sirius red staining as compared to those treated with the vehicle. Furthermore, hepatic-hydroxyproline content and percentage collagen proportionate area were found to be significantly lower in the BM-MSCs-treated group. In contrast, WJ-MSCs treatment showed less reduction of fibrosis at both time points. Immunohistochemical analysis of BM-MSCs-treated liver samples showed a reduction in α-SMA+ myofibroblasts and increased number of EpCAM+ hepatic progenitor cells, along with Ki-67+ and human matrix metalloprotease-1+ (MMP-1+) cells as compared to WJ-MSCs-treated rat livers.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that BM-MSCs are more effective than WJ-MSCs in treating liver fibrosis in a CCl4-induced model in rats. The superior therapeutic activity of BM-MSCs may be attributed to their expression of certain MMPs and angiogenic factors.
METHODS: A longitudinal study of biopsy-proven NAFLD patients was conducted at the Asian tertiary hospital from November 2012 to January 2017. Patients with paired liver biopsies and LSM were followed prospectively for liver-related and non-liver related complications, and survival.
RESULTS: The data for 113 biopsy-proven NAFLD patients (mean age 51.3 ± 10.6 years, male 50%) were analyzed. At baseline, advanced fibrosis based on histology and LSM was observed in 22 and 46%, respectively. Paired liver biopsy and LSM at 1-year interval was available in 71 and 80% of patients, respectively. High-risk cases (defined as patients with advanced fibrosis at baseline who had no fibrosis improvement, and patients who developed advanced fibrosis on repeat assessment) were seen in 23 and 53% of patients, based on paired liver biopsy and LSM, respectively. Type 2 diabetes mellitus was independently associated with high-risk cases. The median follow-up was 37 months with a total follow-up of 328 person-years. High-risk cases based on paired liver biopsy had significantly higher rates of liver-related complications (p = 0.002) but no difference in other outcomes. High-risk patients based on paired LSM had a significantly higher rate of liver-related complications (p = 0.046), cardiovascular events (p = 0.025) and composite outcomes (p = 0.006).
CONCLUSION: Repeat LSM can predict liver-related complications, similar to paired liver biopsy, and may be useful in identifying patients who may be at an increased risk of cardiovascular events. Further studies in a larger cohort and with a longer follow-up should be carried out to confirm these observations.