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Exp Hematol. 2002 Dec;30(12):1454-62.

Differentiative potential of human metanephric mesenchymal cells.

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  • 1Department of Animal Biotechnology, University of Nevada-Reno, Mail Stop 202, Reno, NV 89557-0104, USA.



To evaluate the ability of mesenchymal cells derived from nonhematopoietic organs to form blood and other tissues in vitro and in vivo.


Because of its mesodermic derivation, human fetal kidney was used as a source of mesenchymal cells. Two populations of kidney cells were studied at a nonclonal level: a crude preparation, and an adherent fraction that was derived from the first by propagation in vitro (MNMC). Both populations were transplanted into sheep fetuses and analyzed at intervals for the presence of human cells in different organs by flow cytometry, PCR, immunohistochemistry, and in situ hybridization. Secondary transplantation studies were performed using human hematopoietic cells obtained from the bone marrow (BM) of primary recipients.


MNMC were Thy-1(+), CD51(+), CD44(+), CD45(-), and vimentin(+), a phenotype consistent with that of metanephric mesenchyme. The crude population displayed the same phenotype but was contaminated with 0.4% CD34(+)CD45(+) cells. Cells with hepatocyte-like morphology and phenotype were obtained from the MNMC after culture in specific inducing media. After transplantation, both populations of cells produced multilineage hematopoietic engraftment and gave rise to CD34(+) cells. Successful hematopoietic engraftment in secondary recipients demonstrated the generation of long-term engrafting hematopoietic stem cells from MNMC. PCR analysis confirmed human hematopoietic engraftment and revealed that human cells were also present within other organs. Liver sections of transplanted animals contained human albumin-producing hepatocyte-like cells.


A human metanephric mesenchymal cell population simultaneously gave rise to human blood and liver-like cells, suggesting that mesenchymal cells may represent a broad population of putative stem cells in multiple adult organs.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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