Stromal fibroblasts are a new prospective drug target. Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) and monocyte-derived stromal cells, also known as fibrocytes, are distinct fibroblastic populations derived from separate lineages. Mesenchymal and myeloid fibroblast progenitors are multipotent, serve as progenitor cells in animal models, and are implicated in several diseases. In addition, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) has been established as a mechanism for generation of stromal cells. Organ sources, relative contributions, and functions of these populations in normal development and pathology are not well understood. Innovative approaches are needed to identify markers that can distinguish these stromal populations.
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