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Hammam, O. A., N. Elkhafif, Y. M. Attia, M. T. Mansour, M. M. Elmazar, R. M. Abdelsalam, S. A. Kenawy, and A. S. El-Khatib, "Wharton's jelly-derived mesenchymal stem cells combined with praziquantel as a potential therapy for Schistosoma mansoni-induced liver fibrosis.", Scientific reports, vol. 6, pp. 21005, 2016. Abstract

Liver fibrosis is one of the most serious consequences of S. mansoni infection. The aim of the present study was to investigate the potential anti-fibrotic effect of human Wharton's jelly-derived mesenchymal stem cells (WJMSCs) combined with praziquantel (PZQ) in S. mansoni-infected mice. S. mansoni-infected mice received early (8(th) week post infection) and late (16(th) week post infection) treatment with WJMSCs, alone and combined with oral PZQ. At the 10(th) month post infection, livers were collected for subsequent flow cytometric, histopathological, morphometric, immunohistochemical, gene expression, and gelatin zymographic studies. After transplantation, WJMSCs differentiated into functioning liver-like cells as evidenced by their ability to express human hepatocyte-specific markers. Regression of S. mansoni-induced liver fibrosis was also observed in transplanted groups, as evidenced by histopathological, morphometric, and gelatin zymographic results besides decreased expression of three essential contributors to liver fibrosis in this particular model; alpha smooth muscle actin, collagen-I, and interleukin-13. PZQ additionally enhanced the beneficial effects observed in WJMSCs-treated groups. Our results suggest that combining WJMSCs to PZQ caused better enhancement in S. mansoni-induced liver fibrosis, compared to using each alone.