Journal of Molecular Histology

, Volume 46, Issue 4–5, pp 431–438 | Cite as

Three-dimensional co-culture of BM-MSCs and eccrine sweat gland cells in Matrigel promotes transdifferentiation of BM-MSCs

  • Haihong LiEmail author
  • Xuexue Li
  • Mingjun Zhang
  • Lu Chen
  • Bingna Zhang
  • Shijie Tang
  • Xiaobing Fu
Original Paper


Victims with extensive and deep burns are unable to regenerate eccrine sweat glands. Combining of stem cells and biomimetic ECM to generate cell-based 3D tissues is showing promise for tissue repair and regeneration. We co-cultured BrdU-labeled bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) and eccrine sweat gland cells in Matrigel for 2 weeks in vitro and then evaluated for BM-MSCs differentiation into functional eccrine sweat gland cells by morphological assessment and immunohistochemical double staining for BrdU/pancytokeratin, BrdU/ZO-2, BrdU/E-cadherin, BrdU/desmoglein-2, BrdU/Na+–K+-ATPase α, BrdU/NHE1 and BrdU/CFTR. Cells formed spheroid-like structures in Matrigel, and BrdU-labeled BM-MSCs were involved in the 3D reconstitution of eccrine sweat gland tissues, and the incorporated BM-MSCs expressed an epithelial cell marker (pancytokeratin), epithelial cell junction proteins (ZO-2, E-cadherin and desmoglein-2) and functional proteins of eccrine sweat glands (Na+–K+-ATPase α, NHE1 and CFTR). In conclusion, three-dimensional co-culture of BM-MSCs and eccrine sweat gland cells in Matrigel promotes the transdifferentiation of BM-MSCs into potentially functional eccrine sweat gland cells.


Mesenchymal stem cells Eccrine sweat gland cells Matrigel Three-dimensional co-culture Transdifferentiation 







5-Bromo-4-chloro-3-indolyl phosphate/nitro blue tetrazolium


Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells


Bovine pituitary extract


Cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator


Dulbecco’s modified Eagle’s medium/Ham’s F12 (1:1)


Extracellular matrix


Epidermal growth factor


Hematoxylin and eosin


Fibroblast growth factor


Insulin-like growth factor


Keratinocyte serum-free medium


Matrigel basement membrane matrix


Mesenchymal stem cells


Sodium–hydrogen exchanger 1


Phosphate-buffered saline


Recombinant human epidermal growth factor


Transforming growth factor beta



The manuscript was supported in part by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81071551, 81471882) and the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province (2014A030313476).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

We declare we have no competing financial, personal or other relationships with other people or organizations.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Haihong Li
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Xuexue Li
    • 1
  • Mingjun Zhang
    • 1
  • Lu Chen
    • 1
  • Bingna Zhang
    • 2
  • Shijie Tang
    • 1
  • Xiaobing Fu
    • 3
  1. 1.Burn and Plastic Surgery, The Second Affiliated HospitalShantou University Medical CollegeShantouChina
  2. 2.Research Center for Translational MedicineShantou University Medical CollegeShantouChina
  3. 3.Burns Institute, The First Affiliated Hospital, Chinese PLA General HospitalTrauma Center of Postgraduate Medical SchoolBeijingChina

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