Liver cirrhosis accounts for over 2 million deaths annually worldwide. A subset of these patients – those with alcoholic hepatitis and decompensated cirrhosis, have abysmal short-term survival. Liver transplant is the only intervention of proven survival benefit; however organ availability is a major limitation. It is thus imperative to assess potential benefit of experimental therapies as a bridge to transplant. Stem cell therapies have shown some promise in patients with end-stage liver disease. Of these, bone-marrow derived hematopoietic stem cells have generated the most interest. Animal as well as human data suggest biological plausibility of stem cell translocation from bone marrow to liver, giving credence to cytokine therapies based on bone marrow stimulation. Granulocyte colony stimulating factor has been the most frequently used cytokine for this purpose. This intervention has shown encouraging results in terms of safety as well as survival benefits in small clinical trials. The evidence, however, is sparse and heterogeneous. In this review we describe the biological plausibility, mechanisms of action, and clinical evidence of the use of cytokine based stem cell therapy in patients with end-stage liver disease.
Copyright © 2020 Fundación Clínica Médica Sur, A.C. Published by Elsevier España, S.L.U. All rights reserved.

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