Can bone marrow differentiate into renal cells?
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A considerable plasticity of adult stem cells has been confirmed in a wide variety of tissues. In particular, the pluripotency of bone marrow-derived stem cells may influence the regeneration of injured tissues and may provide novel avenues in regenerative medicine. Bone marrow contains at least hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells, and both can differentiate into a wide range of differentiated cells. Side population (SP) cells, which are originally defined in bone marrow cells by high efflux of DNA-binding dye, seem to be a new class of multipotent stem cells. Irrespective of the approach used to obtain stem cells, the fates of marrow-derived cells following bone marrow transplantation can be traced by labeling donor cells with green fluorescence protein or by identifying donor Y chromosome in female recipients. So far, bone marrow-derived cells have been reported to differentiate into renal cells, including mesangial cells, endothelial cells, podocytes, and tubular cells in the kidney, although controversy exists. Further studies are required to address this issue. Cell therapy will be promising when we learn to control stem cells such as bone marrow-derived stem cells, embryonic stem cells, and resident stem cells in the kidney. Identification of factors that support stem cells or promote their differentiation should provide a relevant step towards cell therapy.
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