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Airway stem cells

Authors

  • Fenggang Yu PhD,

    1. Department of Otolaryngology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore
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  • Xuening Zhao BM,

    1. Department of Otolaryngology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore
    2. Department of Otology and Laryngology, Harvard University, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Chunwei Li BM, PhD,

    1. Department of Otolaryngology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore
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  • Yingying Li BM, MS,

    1. Department of Otolaryngology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore
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  • Yan Yan PhD,

    1. Department of Otolaryngology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore
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  • Li Shi MD, PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Otolaryngology, Qilu Hospital, Shandong University, China
    • Department of Otolaryngology, Qilu Hospital, Shandong University, 44 Wenhua West Road, Jinan, Shandong, China, 250012
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  • Bruce R. Gordon MA, MD,

    1. Department of Otology and Laryngology, Harvard University, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, Massachusetts
    2. Division of Otolaryngology, Cape Cod Hospital, Hyannis, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
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  • De-Yun Wang MD, PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Otolaryngology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore
    • Department of Otolaryngology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, 10 Lower Kent Ridge Road, Singapore 119260
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  • This study was supported by grants from the National Medical Research Council (NMRC, IRG10may086) of Singapore, from the Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN, SIgN 10-028) of Singapore, and from the National Nature Science Foundation of China (grant awarded number 81170897). The authors have no other funding, financial relationships, or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Abstract

Epithelial remodeling is a part of our natural defense mechanisms, and includes migration, proliferation, and differentiation of epithelial cells, as well as the interactions between epithelial and stromal cells. It is not yet possible to distinguish between cause and effect during epithelium remodeling, and are there no clear roles for the many factors involved in respiratory infectious and inflammatory diseases due to a lack of critical information about epithelial cell responses. Most reported data are from lower airway studies or animal models. Therefore, research based on human nasal epithelial stem/progenitor cells can illuminate the pathophysiology of nasal airway disease from a different, more specific perspective. In this review, we discuss epithelial stem/progenitor cell research throughout the airway, with special attention to phenotypes and characterization of these cells from the nasal airway. Recently, we have isolated and cultured P63-positive human epithelial stem/progenitor cells from turbinate biopsies of healthy volunteers and from inflamed mucosa of patients with chronic rhinosinusitis with and without nasal polyposis. These cells propagate in serum-free, growth factor-supplemented, Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium/F12 media, on either human fibroblast or 3T3 feeder layers. Self-renewal, proliferation, and differentiation potential at an air-liquid interface are being investigated to understand the molecular pathways underlying nasal inflammation. This in vitro culture system for nasal epithelial regeneration will allow molecular studies of human nasal epithelial cell interactions, differentiation, and repair, as well as responses to both environmental agents and to potential anti-inflammatory treatments.

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