Tonsil-derived mesenchymal stem cells alleviate concanavalin A-induced acute liver injury

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Acute liver failure, the fatal deterioration of liver function, is the most common indication for emergency liver transplantation, and drug-induced liver injury and viral hepatitis are frequent in young adults. Stem cell therapy has come into the limelight as a potential therapeutic approach for various diseases, including liver failure and cirrhosis. In this study, we investigated therapeutic effects of tonsil-derived mesenchymal stem cells (T-MSCs) in concanavalin A (ConA)- and acetaminophen-induced acute liver injury. ConA-induced hepatitis resembles viral and immune-mediated hepatic injury, and acetaminophen overdose is the most frequent cause of acute liver failure in the United States and Europe. Intravenous administration of T-MSCs significantly reduced ConA-induced hepatic toxicity, but not acetaminophen-induced liver injury, affirming the immunoregulatory capacity of T-MSCs. T-MSCs were successfully recruited to damaged liver and suppressed inflammatory cytokine secretion. T-MSCs expressed high levels of galectin-1 and -3, and galectin-1 knockdown which partially diminished interleukin-2 and tumor necrosis factor α secretion from cultured T-cells. Galectin-1 knockdown in T-MSCs also reversed the protective effect of T-MSCs on ConA-induced hepatitis. These results suggest that galectin-1 plays an important role in immunoregulation of T-MSCs, which contributes to their protective effect in immune-mediated hepatitis. Further, suppression of T-cell activation by frozen and thawed T-MSCs implies great potential of T-MSC banking for clinical utilization in immune-mediated disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-154
Number of pages12
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea, funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (2012M3A9C6049823) .


  • Galectin
  • Immune
  • Liver
  • Mesenchymal stem cell
  • Tonsil


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