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Multipotential stem cells in adult mouse gastric epithelium.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Medical Sciences Building, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1A8.


Previous studies of chimeric animals demonstrate that multipotential stem cells play a role in the development of the gastric epithelium; however, despite much effort, it is not clear whether they persist into adulthood. Here, chemical mutagenesis was used to label random epithelial cells by loss of transgene function in adult hemizygous ROSA26 mice, a mouse strain expressing the transgene lacZ in all tissues. Many clones derived from such cells contained all the major epithelial cell types, thereby demonstrating existence of functional multipotential stem cells in adult mouse gastric epithelium. We also observed clones containing only a single mature cell type, indicating the presence of long-lived committed progenitors in the gastric epithelium. Similar results were obtained in duodenum and colon, showing that this mouse model is suitable for lineage tracing in all regions of the gastrointestinal tract and likely useful for cell lineage studies in other adult renewing tissues.

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