Researchers have developed a humanised mouse model to study hepatitis B

Hepatitis Control Program
Hepatitis Control Program (File Photo)

Beijing, Feb 13. Researchers have developed a humanised mouse model to study liver cirrhosis development induced by hepatitis B virus infection.

Developing
an ideal animal model of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is difficult because
the virus has an extremely narrow host range and almost exclusively infects
humans, Xinhua news agency reported.

Previous
studies show that mesenchymal stem cells from human bone marrow (hBMSCs)
have the potential to differentiate into hepatocyte-like cells in vitro and
continue to maintain essential hepatocyte functions in vivo after being
transplanted into host mouse livers.

Hepatocytes
make up 70 to 85 per cent of the liver mass, the researchers from Xiamen
University and Zhejiang University, said.

For the
study, the research team transplanted hBMSCs into mice.

The mice
show robust differentiation and proliferation of functional human hepatocytes
and multiple immune cells, according to the research paper published in the
British Journal of Gut.

After HBV
infection, the humanised mice developed specific immune and inflammatory
responses and showed progression to chronic hepatitis and liver cirrhosis.

The researchers
said the new humanised mouse model recapitulates the liver cirrhosis induced by
human HBV infection, providing opportunities for better understanding the
immune pathophysiology of HBV and testing promising antiviral therapies in
vivo.

According to the World Health Organisation, an estimated 257 million people are living with HBV infection, which can cause chronic infection and put people at high risk of death from cirrhosis and liver cancer.

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