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Human airway xenograft models of epithelial cell regeneration

BioMed Central
Publication Date
  • Commentary
  • Medicine


Regeneration and restoration of the airway epithelium after mechanical, viral or bacterial injury have a determinant role in the evolution of numerous respiratory diseases such as chronic bronchitis, asthma and cystic fibrosis. The study in vivo of epithelial regeneration in animal models has shown that airway epithelial cells are able to dedifferentiate, spread, migrate over the denuded basement membrane and progressively redifferentiate to restore a functional respiratory epithelium after several weeks. Recently, human tracheal xenografts have been developed in immunodeficient severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) and nude mice. In this review we recall that human airway cells implanted in such conditioned host grafts can regenerate a well-differentiated and functional human epithelium; we stress the interest in these humanized mice in assaying candidate progenitor and stem cells of the human airway mucosa.

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