Background & Aims: Inherited abnormalities in apolipoprotein E (ApoE) or low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) function result in early onset cardiovascular disease and death. Currently, the only curative therapy available is liver transplantation. Hepatocyte transplantation is a potential alternative; however, physiological levels of hepatocyte engraftment and repopulation require transplanted cells to have a competitive proliferative advantage of over host hepatocytes. Herein, we aimed to test the efficacy and safety of a novel preparative regimen for hepatocyte transplantation. Methods: Herein, we used an ApoE-deficient mouse model to test the efficacy of a new regimen for hepatocyte transplantation. We used image-guided external-beam hepatic irradiation targeting the median and right lobes of the liver to enhance cell transplant engraftment. This was combined with administration of the hepatic mitogen GC-1, a thyroid hormone receptor-β agonist mimetic, which was used to promote repopulation. Results: The non-invasive preparative regimen of hepatic irradiation and GC-1 was well-tolerated in ApoE−/− mice. This regimen led to robust liver repopulation by transplanted hepatocytes, which was associated with significant reductions in serum cholesterol levels after transplantation. Additionally, in mice receiving this regimen, ApoE was detected in the circulation 4 weeks after treatment and did not induce an immunological response. Importantly, the normalization of serum cholesterol prevented the formation of atherosclerotic plaques in this model. Conclusions: Significant hepatic repopulation and the cure of dyslipidemia in this model, using a novel and well-tolerated preparative regimen, demonstrate the clinical potential of applying this method to the treatment of inherited metabolic diseases of the liver. Lay summary: Hepatocyte transplantation is a promising alternative to liver transplantation for the treatment of liver diseases. However, it is inefficient, as restricted growth of transplanted cells in the liver limits its therapeutic benefits. Preparative treatments improve the efficiency of this procedure, but no clinically-feasible options are currently available. In this study we develop a novel well-tolerated preparative treatment to improve growth of cells in the liver and then demonstrate that this treatment completely cures an inherited lipid disorder in a mouse model.
- Cell transplantation
- Familial hypercholesterolemia
- Hepatocyte transplantation
- Liver-based metabolic disease
- Preparative hepatic irradiation
ASJC Scopus subject areas