Stem Cell Pathology

Research Summary

In mammalian bodies, most of the tissue cells are continuously replaced in a physiological condition. In such tissues, adult stem cells, that can self-renew and differentiate, exist, and supply tissue cells for virtually entire life. However, only a part of adult stem cells such as hematopoietic stem cells, intestinal stem cells, neural stem cells and stem cells in hair follicle are well-investigated, while, the rest of adult stem cells are not well understood or even not identified. That is because specific markers for many of the adult stem cells remain unidentified. If adult stem cells could be identified, analyses of mechanisms of tissue maintenance and tissue repair should progress, which might lead to identification of cancer stem cells in the tumors that originate from such tissues and to development of new molecular targeted therapies. In our laboratory, we are developing methods to visualize adult stem cells in various tissues. One such method is multicolor lineage tracing method by using rainbow mice. We are particularly interested in adult stem cells in tongue, esophagus, adrenal glands, and lung. We are currently analyzing the mechanisms of tissue maintenance and tissue repair after injury of such tissues and are developing methods of treatment of malignant tumors that originate from such tissues.