Wang X, Willenbring H, Akkari Y, Torimaru Y, Foster M, Al-Dhalimy M, Lagasse E, Finegold M, Olson S, Grompe M.
Cell fusion is the principal source of bone-marrow-derived hepatocytes.
Nature. 2003 Apr 24;422(6934):897-901.
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There is much evidence that bone marrow stem cells acquire environmental cell characteristics by cell fusion (see ARF related news story; Spees et al., 2003). The fusion may be enough to reprogram gene expression patterns and result in changing cell fate decisions. Though when we consider that the spontaneous fusion rate is rather low, there are questions about whether this is the main mechanism for the multipotency of transplanted stem cells and whether this mechanism also occurs with endogenous stem cell differentiation. If this is a normal physiological response of stem cells, polyploidy found in AD neurons may be a result from neurogenesis through fusion. Nevertheless, it would be great if we could produce a variety of cell types from bone marrow stem cell, because it will allow us to develop autologous cell therapy. We should go after the use of adult bone marrow stem cell to treat neurodegenerative disease. Future studies would investigate the physiological function of the fused cell, and try to increase the efficacy of neural differentiation of bone marrow stem cells.