Following transplantation of hematopoietic lineage cells, genetic markers unique to the transplanted cells have been detected in non-hematopoietic recipient cells of human liver, vascular endothelium, intestinal epithelium and brain. The underlying mechanisms by which this occurs are unclear. Evidence from mice suggests it is due in part to fusion between cells of hematopoietic and non-hematopoietic origins; however, direct evidence for this in humans is scant. Here, by quantitative and statistical analysis of X- and Y-chromosome numbers in epithelial and non-epithelial intestinal cells from gender-mismatched hematopoietic cell transplant patients, we provide evidence that transplanted cells of the hematopoietic lineage incorporate into human intestinal epithelium through cell fusion. This is the first definitive identification of cell fusion between hematopoietic cells and any epithelial cell type in humans, and provides the basis for further understanding the physiological and potential pathological consequences of cell fusion in humans.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)