Cell therapy to remove excess copper in Wilson's disease

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30 Scopus citations


To achieve permanent correction of Wilson's disease by a cell therapy approach, replacement of diseased hepatocytes with healthy hepatocytes is desirable. There is a physiological requirement for hepatic ATP7B-dependent copper (Cu) transport in bile, which is deficient in Wilson's disease, producing progressive Cu accumulation in the liver or brain with organ damage. The ability to repopulate the liver with healthy hepatocytes raises the possibility of cell therapy in Wilson's disease. Therapeutic principles included reconstitution of bile canalicular network as well as proliferation in transplanted hepatocytes, despite toxic amounts of Cu in the liver. Nonetheless, cell therapy studies in animal models elicited major differences in the mechanisms driving liver repopulation with transplanted hepatocytes in Wilson's disease versus nondiseased settings. Recently, noninvasive imaging was developed to demonstrate Cu removal from the liver, including after cell therapy in Wilson's disease. Such developments will help advance cell/gene therapy approaches, particularly by offering roadmaps for clinical trials in people with Wilson's disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-80
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Bile
  • Copper
  • Excretion
  • Liver
  • Stem cell
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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