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July 26, 2000

Liver Cells From Bone Marrow

JAMA. 2000;284(4):430. doi:10.1001/jama.284.4.430

The latest in a rapid evolution of findings about the transformational powers of stem cells shows that bone marrow produces stem cells capable of becoming liver cells.

"This is an exciting finding and incredibly surprising because the bone marrow has never been considered as a source of liver cells," said study author Diane Krause, MD, of Yale University School of Medicine.

In the study, researchers analyzed liver samples from two women with leukemia who received bone marrow transplants from male donors and four men with severe liver disease who received liver transplants from female donors. Using fluorescent microscopy, they detected Y chromosomes in all the patients' liver cells. In the women, the donated bone marrow was the only possible source of Y chromosomes. Bone marrow is the most likely source of Y chromosomes in liver samples from the men, the researchers said.