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Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2007 Aug;37(2):152-9. Epub 2007 Mar 29.

Isolation of an adult mouse lung mesenchymal progenitor cell population.

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  • 1The Pulmonary Center, R-304, Boston University School of Medicine, 80 East Concord St., Boston, MA 02118, USA.


Contained within the adult lung are differentiated mesenchymal cell types (cartilage, smooth muscle, and myofibrobasts) that provide structural support for airways and vessels. Alterations in the number and phenotype of these cells figure prominently in the pathogenesis of a variety of lung diseases. While these cells are thought to arise locally, progenitors have yet to be purified. In previous work, we developed a method for isolating progenitors from lung tissue: this technique takes advantage of the unique ability of cell populations enriched for somatic stem and progenitor activity to efflux the vital dye Hoechst 33342, a feature that permits isolation by flow cytometry-based procedures. Using this method, we determined that a rare population of mesenchymal progenitors resides within the CD45- CD31- Hoechst low fraction of the adult murine lung. Similar to other mesenchymal progenitors, these cells express Sca-1, CD106, and CD44; can be serially passaged; and can differentiate to smooth muscle, cartilage, bone, and fat. Overall, these findings demonstrate that a phenotypically distinct mesenchymal progenitor resides within the adult murine lung, and provide a scheme for their isolation and study.

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