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Stem Cells. 2003;21(5):514-20.

Multiple organ engraftment by bone-marrow-derived myofibroblasts and fibroblasts in bone-marrow-transplanted mice.

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Histopathology Unit, Cancer Research UK London Research Institute, London, United Kingdom.


Myofibroblasts are ubiquitous cells with features of both fibroblasts and smooth muscle cells. We suggest that the bone marrow can contribute to myofibroblast populations in a variety of tissues and that this is exacerbated by injury. To assess this, female mice were transplanted with male bone marrow and the male cells were tracked throughout the body and identified as myofibroblasts. Skin wounding and paracetamol administration were used to assess whether myofibroblast engraftment was modulated by damage. Following radiation injury, a proportion of myofibroblasts in the lung, stomach, esophagus, skin, kidney, and adrenal capsule were bone-marrow derived. In the lung, there was significantly greater engraftment following paracetamol administration (17% versus 41% p < 0.005). Bone-marrow-derived fibroblasts were also found. We suggest that bone marrow contributes to a circulating population of cells and, in the context of injury, these cells are recruited and contribute to tissue repair.

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