Evidence for human lung stem cells

January 01, 0001

Evidence for human lung stem cells

Although progenitor cells have been described in distinct anatomical regions of the lung, description of resident stem cells has remained elusive.These US investitators studied surgical lung-tissue specimens to identify and characterize human lung stem cells. They defined their phenotype and functional properties in vitro and in vivo.

They found: "Human lungs contain undifferentiated human lung stem cells nested in niches in the distal airways. These cells are self-renewing, clonogenic, and multipotent in vitro. After injection into damaged mouse lung in vivo, human lung stem cells form human bronchioles, alveoli, and pulmonary vessels integrated structurally and functionally with the damaged organ. The formation of a chimeric lung was confirmed by detection of human transcripts for epithelial and vascular genes. In addition, the self-renewal and long-term proliferation of human lung stem cells was shown in serial-transplantation assays."

The authors concluded: "Human lungs contain identifiable stem cells. In animal models, these cells participate in tissue homeostasis and regeneration. They have the undemonstrated potential to promote tissue restoration in patients with lung disease."

This is the starting point for potential new therapies for lung disease.

For the full abstract, click here.

N Engl J Med 364:1795-1806, 12 May 2011
© 2011 to the Massachusetts Medical Society
Evidence for Human Lung Stem Cells. Jan Kajstura, Marcello Rota, Sean R. Hall, et al. Correspondence to Dr. Piero Anversa: [email protected]

Category: R. Respiratory. Keywords: stem cells, lung, laboratory experiment, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Linda French, Toledo, Ohio. Posted on Global Family Doctor 20 May 2011

Pearls are an independent product of the Cochrane primary care group and are meant for educational use and not to guide clinical care.