Damaged epithelia regenerated by bone marrow-derived cells in the human gastrointestinal tract

Nat Med. 2002 Sep;8(9):1011-7. doi: 10.1038/nm755. Epub 2002 Aug 26.


Studies have shown that bone marrow cells have the potential to differentiate into a variety of cell types. Here we show that bone marrow cells can repopulate the epithelia of the human gastrointestinal tract. Epithelial cells of male donor origin were distributed in every part of the gastrointestinal tract of female bone marrow transplant recipients. Donor-derived epithelial cells substantially repopulated the gastrointestinal tract during epithelial regeneration after graft-versus-host disease or ulcer formation. Regeneration of gastrointestinal epithelia with donor-derived cells in humans shows a potential clinical application of bone marrow-derived cells for repairing severely damaged epithelia, not only in the gastrointestinal tract but also in other tissues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biopsy
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Digestive System / cytology*
  • Digestive System / pathology
  • Digestive System Physiological Phenomena*
  • Epithelium / pathology
  • Epithelium / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Male
  • Regeneration
  • Tissue Donors
  • Y Chromosome