c-kit(+) cells adopt vascular endothelial but not epithelial cell fates during lung maintenance and repair

Nat Med. 2015 Aug;21(8):866-8. doi: 10.1038/nm.3888. Epub 2015 Jul 13.


Unraveling the fate specification of resident stem cells during lung regeneration is of clinical importance. It has been reported that c-kit(+) progenitor cells resident in the human lung regenerate epithelial lineages upon transplantation into injured mouse lung. Here we test the lineage potential of c-kit(+) cells by inducible genetic lineage tracing. We find that c-kit(+) cells do not contribute to lung epithelium during homeostasis and repair, and instead maintain a vascular endothelial cell fate. These findings call attention to the clinical application of c-kit(+) stem cells as lung epithelial progenitors for the treatment of pulmonary disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Lineage
  • Endothelial Cells / physiology*
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology*
  • Female
  • Homeostasis
  • Lung / cytology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit / analysis*
  • Stem Cells / physiology


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit