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Curr Opin Hematol. 2003 May;10(3):208-13.

Stem-cell "plasticity": befuddled by the muddle.

Author information

  • Center for Cell and Gene Therapy, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA. goodell@bcm.tmc.edu


In the past 4 years, multiple reports have suggested that stem cells derived from adult tissues can differentiate outside their tissue of origin, challenging long-accepted tenets of developmental biology. This concept of stem-cell "plasticity" has helped to galvanize research on stem cells due to the myriad therapeutic possibilities. However, there are wide discrepancies in the reported frequencies of so-called transdifferentiation events, from recent reports of negative data to reports of the contribution in some tissues and systems reaching as much as 20%. The evidence for and against stem-cell plasticity is reviewed here as well as some of the possible sources of the experimental variation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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