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Stem Cell Rev. 2008 Summer;4(2):89-99. doi: 10.1007/s12015-008-9018-0. Epub 2008 May 6.

Very small embryonic-like (VSEL) stem cells: purification from adult organs, characterization, and biological significance.

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Stem Cell Institute at James Graham Brown Cancer Center, University of Louisville, 500 South Floyd Street, Louisville, KY 40202, USA.


In this review, we discuss current views of the bone marrow (BM) stem cell (SC) compartment and present data showing that BM contains heterogeneous populations of hematopoietic (H)SCs and non-HSCs. These cells are variously described in the literature as: endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs); mesenchymal (M)SCs; multipotent adult progenitor cells (MAPCs); marrow-isolated adult multilineage inducible (MIAMI) cells; and multipotent adult (MA)SCs. In some cases, it is likely that similar or overlapping populations of primitive SCs in the BM detected using various experimental strategies were assigned different names. Recently, we purified rare CXC chemokine receptor 4 expressing (CXCR4(+)) small SCs from the murine BM that express markers characteristic for embryonic (E)SCs, epiblast (EP)SCs, and primordial germ cells (PGCs). We named these primitive cells very small embryonic-like (VSEL) SCs. Our data indicate that VSELs may differentiate into cells from all three germ layers.

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