We use human and mouse intestine as a model to understand the Telocyte
in development homeostasis and disease.
Telocytes are large, flat, mesenchymal cells characterized by extremely
long cytoplasmic processes, are present in the stroma of almost all organs examined
(bone marrow, skin, heart, lung, kidney, intestine, liver, pancreas, brain,
reproductive system, bladder, mammary gland, prostate and placenta). Recently, telocytes were demonstrated to
constitute the intestinal stem-cell niche by secreting the essential Wnt ligands
without which stem-cell renewal is completely ceased.
subepithelial telocytes express the surface membrane platelet-derived growth
factor receptor a (PDGFRa), while
the transcription factor FOXL1 label their nuclei. Telocytes form a continuous comprehensive three dimensional network
of contact with the entire intestinal epithelium, from the crypt base to the
tip of the villi and compartmentalize
transcripts of a wide range of signaling molecules depending upon their
position along the crypt-villus axis in correlation to signaling gradients on