, Volume 70, Issue 1, pp 129–140 | Cite as

Liver epithelioid progenitor cells derived from fetal Luxi bovine alleviate liver fibrosis

  • Kunfu Wang
  • Hao Liu
  • Jinjuan Yang
  • Caiyun Ma
  • Zebiao Zhang
  • Dong ZhengEmail author
  • Weijun GuanEmail author


Liver epithelioid progenitor cells (LEPCs) have important roles in liver therapy because of their hepatic differentiation potency in vitro and in vivo. Despite many researches on humans, mice, and rats, equivalent progenitor cells derived from bovine are relatively rare. The purpose of our current study is to characterize bovine LEPCs, and research on the cure potency of this heteroplastic progenitor cells on mice liver fibrosis. We have used collagenase IV digesting and differential adhesion method to isolate slabstone shape, EpCAM, LGR5, NCAM1 and SOX9 positive progenitor cells from fetal Luxi bovine liver. When cultured in hepatic differentiation media containing 20 ng/ml Oncostatin M, LEPCs can differentiate into hepatocytes in vitro. After 4 weeks of intravenous tail vein injection into CCl4-injured mouse liver, LEPCs engrafted into liver parenchyma, differentiated into ALB positive hepatocytes, and could alleviate liver fibrosis through down regulating fibrosis genes-Tgfb1 and α-SMA as well as decreasing expression of collagen gene Col1a1, Col3a1, and Col4a1, and regain liver function by recovering ALT and AST. Our findings provided a useful tool for studying liver development in vitro, new cell resource for heterograft on mouse liver diseases, and a new platform for researches on immune rejection of heterogeneous cell transplantation.


Hepatocyte differentiation Liver epithelioid progenitor cells Stem cells therapy Liver fibrosis Heterogeneous cell transplantation 



Alpha fetoprotein


Cholangiocytic differentiation medium


Epithelial cell adhesion molecule


Glucose-6-phosphatase catalytic subunit


Hepatic differentiation medium


Hepatic stem cells


Induced hepatic stem cells


Integrin subunit beta 4


Leucine rich repeat containing G protein coupled receptor 5


Liver progenitor cells


Liver epithelioid progenitor cells


Neural cell adhesion molecule 1


Oncostatin M


Periodic acid-Schiff




SRY (sex determining region Y)-box 9



This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos: 31472099; 31672404), the Agricultural Science and Technology Innovation Program (ASTIP) (cxgc-ias-01) and the project National Infrastructure of Animal Germplasm Resources (2016).

Author’s contribution

KW and HL participated in experimental designs, data acquisition and analysis, and data interpretation, as well as drafting of the manuscript. JY, CM and ZZ were involved in data acquisition and data interpretation, as well as drafting the manuscript. DZ and WG were also involved in data acquisition and data interpretation, as well as drafting the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interests.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 14 kb)
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Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 13 kb)
10616_2017_113_MOESM3_ESM.docx (13 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOCX 13 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Wildlife ResourcesNortheast Forestry UniversityHarbinChina
  2. 2.Institute of Animal ScienceChinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.College of Life SciencesQufu Normal UniversityQufuChina

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