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J Hematother Stem Cell Res. 2000 Aug;9(4):445-52.

Human stem cells express substance P gene and its receptor.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania Medical School, Philadelphia 19104, USA.


We studied the expression of Substance P (SP) and its receptor in an established human stem cell line (TF-1) and primary stem cells derived from human placental cord blood (HPCB). Using reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay, SP mRNA is detected in both TF-1 cells and HPCB stem cells. Among the alpha, beta, gamma, and delta transcripts of the SP gene, only the beta, gamma, and delta transcripts are detectable in these cells. These RT-PCR-amplified transcripts are confirmed by Southern blot assay using a specific SP probe. Sequence analysis of the RT-PCR-amplified products transcribed from mRNA extracted from the HPCB stem cells also confirmed that these transcripts are identical to those found in human neurons. At the protein level, TF-1 cells produced endogenous SP as determined by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (EIA). Capsaicin, a vanillyl fatty acid amide (ingredient of hot pepper), released SP from TF-1 cells. In addition, using RT nested-PCR analysis, we identified the presence of mRNA for neurokinin-1 receptor (NK-1R, the receptor for SP) in both TF-1 cells and HPCB stem cells, which was confirmed by Southern blot and DNA sequencing analysis. The demonstration that human stem cells express SP and its receptor support the notion that SP is biologically involved in the hematopoietic regulating network.

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