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Exp Cell Res. 2010 Sep 10;316(15):2447-55. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2010.06.009. Epub 2010 Jun 22.

Cytoplasm and organelle transfer between mesenchymal multipotent stromal cells and renal tubular cells in co-culture.

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A.N.Belozersky Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology, Moscow State University, Moscow 119992, Russian Federation.


Cell-to-cell interactions of human mesenchymal multipotent stromal cells (MMSC) and rat renal tubular cells (RTC) were explored under conditions of co-cultivation. We observed formation of different types of intercellular contacts, including so called tunneling nanotubes. These contacts were shown to be able to provide transfer of cell's contents, including organelles. We documented intercellular exchange with fluorescent probes specific to cytosol, plasmalemma and mitochondria. Initial transport of cellular components was revealed after 3 h of co-culturing, and occurred in two directions--both direct and retrograde as referred to RTC. However, transport of probes toward MMSC was more efficient. One significant result of such transport was appearance of renal-specific Tamm-Horsfall protein in MMSC, indicating induction of their differentiation into kidney tubular cells. We conclude that transfer of cellular compartments between renal and stem cells could provide differentiation of MMSC when transplanted into kidney and result in therapeutic benefits in renal failure.

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