Telocytes heterogeneity: From cellular morphology to functional evidence, 2017

Topics: Telocytes, Stem cells, Immunophenotype heterogeneity, Regenerative medicine, Cancer

Authors: Dragos Cretoiu, Beatrice Mihaela Radu, Adela Banciu, Daniel Dumitru Banciu, Sanda Maria Cretoiu


Telocytes (TCs), located ubiquitously in the internal organs of vertebrates, are a heterogeneous, recently described, cell population of the stromal space. Characterized by lengthy cytoplasmic extensions that can reach tens of microns and are called telopodes (Tps), TCs are difficult to see using conventional microscopes. It was the electron microscopy which led to their first identification and Popescu’s team the first responsible for the reconstructions indicating TCs ‘organization’ in a three-dimensional (3D) network that is believed to be accountable for the complex roles of TCs. Gradually, it became increasingly evident that TCs are difficult to characterize in terms of immunophenotype and that their phenotype is different depending on the location and needs of the tissue at one time. This review discusses the growing body of evidence accumulated since TCs were discovered and highlights how the complex interplay between TCs and stem cells might be of importance for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

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