Telocytes pp 1-21 | Cite as

The History of Telocyte Discovery and Understanding

  • Jian Wang
  • Meiling Jin
  • Wen-huan Ma
  • Zhitu Zhu
  • Xiangdong Wang
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 913)


Telocytes (TCs) are identified as a peculiar cell type of interstitial cells in various organs. The typical features of TCs from the other cells are the extending cellular process as telopodes with alternation of podomeres and podoms. Before the year of 2010, TCs were considered as interstitial Cajal-like cells because of the similar morphology and immunohistochemical features with interstitial cells of Cajal which were found more than 100 years ago and considered to be pacemakers for gut motility. Subsequently, it demonstrated that TCs were not Cajal-like cells, and thus the new name “telocyte” was proposed in 2010. With the help of different techniques, e.g., transmission electron microscopy, immunohistochemistry, or omics science, TCs have been detected in various tissues and organs from different species. The pathological role of TCs in different diseases was also studied. According to observation in situ or in vitro, TCs played a vital role in mechanical support, signaling transduction, tissue renewal or repair, immune surveillance, and mechanical sensor via establishing homo- or heterogenous junctions with neighboring cells to form 3D network or release extracellular vesicles to form juxtacrine and paracrine. This review will introduce the origin, distribution, morphology, functions, omics science, methods, and interaction of TCs with other cells and provide a better understanding of the new cell type.


Interstitial Cell Stem Cell Niche Extracellular Vesicle Intercellular Signaling Perivascular Epithelioid Cell 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Zhongshan Hospital, Shanghai Institute of Clinical BioinformaticsFudan University Center for Clinical Bioinformatics, Clinical Science Institute of Fudan University Zhongshan HospitalShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Zhabei District Hospital of Traditional Chinese MedicineShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Jinzhou Hospital of Liaoning Medical CollegeJinzhouChina

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