Accumulating evidence has demonstrated that stem cells have the ability to repair the lung tissue injuries following either injection of cultured cells or bone marrow transplantation. As a result, increasing attention has focused on the lung resident mesenchymal stem cells (LR-MSCs) for repairing damaged lung tissues. Meanwhile, some studies have revealed that Wnt/β-catenin signaling plays an important role in the epithelial differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). In the current study, our aim was to explore the roles of Wnt/β-catenin signaling on cell proliferation and epithelial differentiation of LR-MSCs. We have successfully isolated the stem cell antigen (Sca)-1+CD45-CD31- cells which were proposed to be LR-MSCs by magnetic-activated cell sorting (MACS). Furthermore, we demonstrated the expression of epithelial markers on LR-MSCs following indirect co-culture of these cells with alveolar epithelial type II (ATII) cells, confirming the epithelial phenotype of LR-MSCs following co-culture. In order to clarify the regulatory mechanisms of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in epithelial differentiation of LR-MSCs, we measured the protein levels of several important members involved in Wnt/β-catenin signaling in the presence or absence of some canonical activators and inhibitors of the β-catenin pathways. In conclusion, our study demonstrated that Wnt/β-catenin signaling may be an essential mechanism underlying the regulation of epithelial differentiation of LR-MSCs. J. Cell. Biochem. 116: 1532-1539, 2015.
- ALVEOLAR EPITHELIAL TYPE II CELLS (ATII CELLS)
- LUNG RESIDENT MESENCHYMAL STEM CELLS (LR-MSCs)
- WNT/β-CATENIN SIGNALING
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology