Stem cell plasticity. Plasticity of epithelial stem cells in tissue regeneration

Science. 2014 Jun 13;344(6189):1242281. doi: 10.1126/science.1242281. Epub 2014 Jun 12.


Tissues rely upon stem cells for homeostasis and repair. Recent studies show that the fate and multilineage potential of epithelial stem cells can change depending on whether a stem cell exists within its resident niche and responds to normal tissue homeostasis, whether it is mobilized to repair a wound, or whether it is taken from its niche and challenged to de novo tissue morphogenesis after transplantation. In this Review, we discuss how different populations of naturally lineage-restricted stem cells and committed progenitors can display remarkable plasticity and reversibility and reacquire long-term self-renewing capacities and multilineage differentiation potential during physiological and regenerative conditions. We also discuss the implications of cellular plasticity for regenerative medicine and for cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinogenesis / pathology
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cell Tracking
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology*
  • Epithelium / physiology
  • Humans
  • Regeneration*
  • Regenerative Medicine / trends
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / pathology
  • Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Wound Healing