Human adipose-derived stem cells possess a lot of stem cell characteristics, so they may be considered a source of stem cell population. On the basis of that, we have investigated the hepatic potential of adipose-derived stem cells, obtained from liposuction, following two differentiation protocols. In the first procedure, medium was supplemented with epidermal growth factor (EGF), basic fibroblast growth factor, hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and nicotinamide; the second involved the addition of factors such as dexametasone, EGF, insulin-transferrin-sodium selenite, HGF, dimethyl sulfoxide and oncostatin. In parallel, we carried out our study in the Hep G2 cell line, as human hepatic differentiated in vitro model. Immunocytochemical analysis and RT-PCR were performed using hepatic markers to evaluate cell differentiation. DNA content, MTT test and carboxyl fluorescein succinimidyl ester staining were carried out to evaluate cell proliferation. We reported the evidence of basal hepatic marker in undifferentiated adipose-derived stem cells, which confirmed their multipotency. A strong expression of albumin and α-fetoprotein was observed in hepatic-induced adipose-derived stem cells following both differentiation procedures. Morphological aspects of the two types of hepatic adipose-derived stem cells were alike. Proliferation index suggested that the first differentiation procedure promoted better growth than the second. These preliminary findings suggest adipose-derived stem cells may be induced into hepatic lineage, and the most significant difference between the two standard differentiation procedures concerns proliferation rate. This aspect is to be considered when adipose-derived stem cells are employed in research and clinical studies.
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