Expression and role of Oct3/4, Nanog and Sox2 in regeneration of rat tracheal epithelium

Authors


Prof. X.-S. Jia, Department of Pathology, College of Basic Medical Sciences, China Medical University, Shenyang 110001, China. Tel.: +86-24-23256666; Fax: +86-24-22515706; E-mail: xinshanjia@hotmail.com

Abstract

Objectives:  To explore the role of Oct3/4, Nanog and Sox2 in regeneration of rat tracheal epithelium.

Materials and methods:  An ex vivo model of rat tracheal epithelial regeneration using 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) was developed, to induce injury. Expression levels of Oct3/4, Nanog and Sox2 were examined using Western blot analysis, RT-PCR or microscopically observed immunofluorescence, and cell morphological changes were observed using HE staining, during the recovery process.

Results:  Oct3/4, Nanog and Sox2 were not detectable in normal tracheal epithelium. After treatment with 5-FU, the normally proliferating tracheal epithelium desquamated and only a few cells in G0 phase of the cell cycle were left on the basement membrane and Oct3/4, Nanog and Sox2 could be observed at this time. Thereafter, the number of Oct3/4-, Nanog- and Sox2-positive cells increased gradually. When the cells differentiated into ciliate cells, mucous cells or basal cells, and restored pseudostratified mucociliary epithelium, the number of Oct3/4-, Nanog- and Sox2-positive cells decreased and gradually disappeared.

Conclusions:  G0 phase cells with resistance to 5-FU damage expressed Oct3/4, Nanog and Sox2. This indicated that these cells were undifferentiated, but had the ability to terminally differentiate into downstream-type cells. They possessed stem cell properties. The results are consistent with Oct3/4, Nanog and Sox2-expressing cells being considered as tracheal stem cells.

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