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Volume 76 - 2013 - Fasc.1 - Case series

Liver progenitor cells and therapeutic potential of stem cells in human chronic liver diseases

Liver progenitor cells, thought to reside in the terminal bile ductules (canals of Hering) at the interface between portal tracts and liver lobule, proliferate during severe hepatic injury. They may contribute to hepatocyte regeneration, or even take over this role if the liver injury is severe and associated with an impairment of hepatocyte proliferation. They represent promising targets in an attempt to stimulate liver regeneration in chronic diseases. Recent studies on liver progenitor cell recruitment in response to injury in chronic viral hepatitis B, hepatitis C, alcoholic and non-alcoholic liver diseases are presented in this review, as well as clinical trials in which stem cells are administered as a therapeutic intervention to promote liver regeneration. Liver progenitor cell expansion is part of the disease process itself and may contribute to disease -severity,- mainly- related- to- fibrosis.- As- the- majority- of- these- pro- genitor cells tend to acquire a biliary phenotype, their role in liver repair and improvement in liver function remains to be addressed. Present data on stem cell therapy are heterogeneous in terms of methods and endpoints ; thus, results need to be carefully exam- ined- prior- to- drawing- a- conclusion- on- possible- benefits. (Acta gastroenterol. belg., 2013, 76, 3-9).


The roles of mesenchymal stem cells in gastric lesion and regeneration : applica- tions in gastric diseases

In recent years, many studies have focused on the roles of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) due to their contribution to tissue regeneration and tumorigenesis. However, the full profile of the roles of MSCs in gastric diseases has not been established. In this review, we aim to provide an overview on the roles of MSCs on cell lesion and regeneration in gastric diseases, including gastric ulcer, premalignant conditions and cancer. We will also discuss the mechanisms underlying the behaviors of MSCs in these diseases. (Acta gastroenterol. belg., 2013, 76, 10-14).


Probiotics and IBD

The pathophysiology of inflammatory bowel disease is still incompletely understood. While the development of the immune system and the establishment of the microflora take place during infancy young patients often have a more severe and extensive dis- ease. The differences in composition and concentration of intestinal microbiota and aberrant immune responses towards the luminal bacteria prompted the concept of an 'ecological' approach to control the disease course. Probiotics, living, non pathogenic micro organisms with a beneficial effect on the host, and prebiotics, oligo- saccharides promoting the growth of the beneficial microflora, have been studied to this effect. Results have so far been disap- pointing for Crohn's disease but encouraging for ulcerative colitis. An overview of studies using probiotics in adults or children and a perspective on specific pediatric issues is provided in this review. (Acta gastroenterol. belg., 2013, 76, 15-19).