Fusion between hematopoietic and epithelial cells in adult human intestine

PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e55572. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0055572. Epub 2013 Jan 30.

Abstract

Following transplantation of hematopoietic lineage cells, genetic markers unique to the transplanted cells have been detected in non-hematopoietic recipient cells of human liver, vascular endothelium, intestinal epithelium and brain. The underlying mechanisms by which this occurs are unclear. Evidence from mice suggests it is due in part to fusion between cells of hematopoietic and non-hematopoietic origins; however, direct evidence for this in humans is scant. Here, by quantitative and statistical analysis of X- and Y-chromosome numbers in epithelial and non-epithelial intestinal cells from gender-mismatched hematopoietic cell transplant patients, we provide evidence that transplanted cells of the hematopoietic lineage incorporate into human intestinal epithelium through cell fusion. This is the first definitive identification of cell fusion between hematopoietic cells and any epithelial cell type in humans, and provides the basis for further understanding the physiological and potential pathological consequences of cell fusion in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bone Marrow Cells / metabolism*
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation
  • Cell Fusion
  • Chromosomes, Human, X
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Intestines / cytology*
  • Karyotype
  • Male
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Tissue Donors