In vivo characterization of bone marrow-derived fibroblasts recruited into fibrotic lesions

Stem Cells. 2005 May;23(5):699-706. doi: 10.1634/stemcells.2004-0183.


Fibroblasts, which are widely distributed and play a key part in tissue fibrosis, are phenotypically and functionally heterogeneous. Recent studies reported that bone marrow can be a source of tissue fibroblast. In the study reported here, we investigated in vivo characterization of bone marrow-derived fibroblasts recruited into various fibrotic lesions. Mice were engrafted with bone marrow isolated from transgenic mice expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP), and fibrotic lesions were induced by cancer implantation (skin), excisional wounding (skin), and bleomycin administration (lung). A small population of GFP+ fibroblast was found even in nonfibrotic skin (8.7% +/- 4.6%) and lung (8.9% +/- 2.5%). The proportion of GFP+ fibroblasts was significantly increased after cancer implantation(59.7% +/- 16.3%) and excisional wounding (32.2% +/- 4.8%), whereas it was not elevated after bleomycin administration (7.1% +/- 2.4%). Almost all GFP+ fibroblasts in fibrotic lesions expressed type I collagen, suggesting that bone marrow-derived fibroblasts would contribute to tissue fibrosis. GFP+ fibroblasts expressed CD45, Thy-1, and alpha-smooth muscle actin at various proportions. Our results suggested that bone marrow-derived fibroblasts expressed several fibroblastic markers in vivo and could be efficiently recruited into fibrotic lesions in response to injurious stimuli; however, the degree of recruitment frequency might depend on the tissue microenvironment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / toxicity
  • Bleomycin / toxicity
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology
  • Bone Marrow Cells / physiology*
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation*
  • Cell Lineage / physiology*
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / physiology*
  • Fibrosis / pathology
  • Fibrosis / physiopathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Neoplasm Transplantation / pathology
  • Neoplasm Transplantation / physiology
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / physiopathology
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / chemically induced
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / physiopathology*
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin / physiopathology
  • Wound Healing / physiology


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Bleomycin