Human hepatic stellate cell line (LX-2) exhibits characteristics of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells

Andrielle Castilho-Fernandes, Danilo Candido de Almeida, Aparecida Maria Fontes, Fernanda Ursoli Ferreira Melo, Virgínia Picanço-Castro, Marcela Cristina Freitas, Maristela D. Orellana, Patricia V.B. Palma, Perry B. Hackett, Scott L. Friedman, Dimas Tadeu Covas

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38 Scopus citations


The LX-2 cell line has characteristics of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), which are considered pericytes of the hepatic microcirculatory system. Recent studies have suggested that HSCs might have mesenchymal origin. We have performed an extensive characterization of the LX-2 cells and have compared their features with those of mesenchymal cells. Our data show that LX-2 cells have a phenotype resembling activated HSCs as well as bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs). Our immunophenotypic analysis showed that LX-2 cells are positive for activated HSC markers (αSMA, GFAP, nestin and CD271) and classical mesenchymal makers (CD105, CD44, CD29, CD13, CD90, HLA class-I, CD73, CD49e, CD166 and CD146) but negative for the endothelial marker CD31 and endothelial progenitor cell marker CD133 as well as hematopoietic markers (CD45 and CD34). LX-2 cells also express the same transcripts found in immortalized and primary BM-MSCs (vimentin, annexin 5, collagen 1A, NG2 and CD140b), although at different levels. We show that LX-2 cells are capable to differentiate into multilineage mesenchymal cells in vitro and can stimulate new blood vessel formation in vivo. LX-2 cells appear not to possess tumorigenic potential. Thus, the LX-2 cell line behaves as a multipotent cell line with similarity to BM-MSCs. This line should be useful for further studies to elucidate liver regeneration mechanisms and be the foundation for development of hepatic cell-based therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)664-672
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental and Molecular Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank, Dr. Dario Campana (Department of Pediatrics, University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Memphis, TN) for kindly providing HBMS cell line. Also we thank Lucas E. B. Souza for providing technical support on Xenogen In Vivo Imaging System (IVIS). This work was supported by FAPESP , FINEP and INCTC .


  • Hepatic stellate cell line
  • LX-2
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Pericytes

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