Circulating CD14(+) monocytes are originated from hematopoietic stem cells in the bone marrow and believed to be committed precursors for phagocytes, such as macrophages. Recently, we have reported a primitive cell population termed monocyte-derived multipotential cells (MOMCs), which has a fibroblast-like morphology in culture and a unique phenotype positive for CD14, CD45, CD34, and type I collagen. MOMCs are derived from circulating CD14(+) monocytes, but circulating precursors for MOMCs still remain undetermined. Comparative analysis of gene expression profiles of MOMCs and other monocyte-derived cells has revealed that embryonic stem cell markers, Nanog and Oct-4, are specifically expressed by MOMCs. In vitro generation of MOMCs requires binding to fibronectin and exposure to soluble factors derived from activated platelets. MOMCs contain progenitors with capacity to differentiate into a variety of nonphagocytes, including bone, cartilage, fat, skeletal and cardiac muscle, neuron, and endothelium, indicating that circulating monocytes are more multipotent than previously thought. In addition, MOMCs are capable of promoting ex vivo expansion of human hematopoietic progenitor cells through direct cell-to-cell contact and secretion of a variety of hematopoietic growth factors. These findings obtained from the research on MOMCs indicate that CD14(+) monocytes in circulation are involved in a variety of physiologic functions other than innate and acquired immune responses, such as repair and regeneration of the damaged tissue.
Copyright 2010 ISEH - Society for Hematology and Stem Cells. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.