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J Cell Biol. 2001 May 28;153(5):1133-40.

Circulating skeletal stem cells.

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Craniofacial and Skeletal Diseases Branch, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, 30 Convent Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


We report the isolation of adherent, clonogenic, fibroblast-like cells with osteogenic and adipogenic potential from the blood of four mammalian species. These cells phenotypically resemble but are distinguishable from skeletal stem cells found in bone marrow (stromal stem cells, "mesenchymal stem cells"). The osteogenic potential of the blood-borne cells was proven by an in vivo transplantation assay in which either polyclonal or single colony-derived strains were transplanted into the subcutis of immunocompromised mice, and the donor origin of the fully differentiated bone cells was proven using species-specific probes. This is the first definitive proof of the existence of circulating skeletal stem cells in mammals.

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