Research Alert

Background

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become a global epidemic disease. Its incidence is associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Presently, there is no approved pharmacological agents specially developed for NAFLD. One promising disease-modifying strategy is the transplantation of stem cells to promote metabolic regulation and repair of injury.

Method

In this study, a T2DM model was established through 28-week high-fat diet (HFD) feeding resulting in T2DM-associated NAFLD, followed by the injection of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs). The morphology, function, and transfer of hepatocyte mitochondria were evaluated in both vivo and in vitro.

Results

BMSC implantation resulted in the considerable recovery of increasing weight, HFD-induced steatosis, liver function, and disordered glucose and lipid metabolism. The treatment with BMSC transplantation was accompanied by reduced fat accumulation. Moreover, mitochondrial transfer was observed in both vivo and vitro studies. And the mitochondria-recipient steatotic cells exhibited significantly enhanced OXPHOS activity, ATP production, and mitochondrial membrane potential, and reduced reactive oxygen species levels, which were not achieved by the blocking of mitochondrial transfer.

Conclusion

Mitochondrial transfer from BMSCs is a feasible process to combat NAFLD via rescuing dysfunction mitochondria, and has a promising therapeutic effect on metabolism-related diseases.

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