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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)
 
 
 

Blockade of kit signaling induces transdifferentiation of interstitial cells of cajal to a smooth muscle phenotype.

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) serve as pacemaker cells and mediators of neurotransmission from the enteric nervous system to gastrointestinal muscles. ICC develop from mesenchymal cells that express c-Kit, and signaling via Kit receptors is necessary for normal development of ICC. We studied the fate of functionally developed ICC after blockade of Kit receptors to determine whether ICC undergo cell death or whether the phenotype of the cells is modified. The fate of undeveloped ICC was also investigated. METHODS: Neutralizing, anti-Kit monoclonal antibody (ACK2) was administered to mice for 8 days after birth. ICC in the small intestine were examined by immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy. Occurrence of apoptosis was also assayed. RESULTS: When Kit receptors were blocked, ICC nearly disappeared from the small intestine. Apoptosis was not detected in regions where ICC are normally distributed. Remaining Kit-immunopositive cells in the pacemaker region of the small intestine developed ultrastructural features similar to smooth muscle cells, including prominent filament bundles and expression of the muscle-specific intermediate filament protein, desmin, and smooth muscle myosin. ICC of the deep muscular plexus normally develop after birth in the mouse. Precursors of these cells remained in an undifferentiated state when Kit was blocked. CONCLUSIONS: These data, along with previous studies showing that ICC in the pacemaker region of the small intestine and longitudinal muscle cells develop from the same Kit-immunopositive precursor cells, suggest inherent plasticity between the ICC and smooth muscle cells that is regulated by Kit-dependent cell signaling.[1]

References

  1. Blockade of kit signaling induces transdifferentiation of interstitial cells of cajal to a smooth muscle phenotype. Torihashi, S., Nishi, K., Tokutomi, Y., Nishi, T., Ward, S., Sanders, K.M. Gastroenterology (1999) [Pubmed]
 
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