Bone marrow cells offer hope for lung injury

Thomas Waddell and colleagues have identified a population of mouse bone marrow cells that can help repair of the damaged lung.

As cells expressing similar markers were identified in human bone marrow, the authors suggest that this cell population might be used therapeutically to treat individuals with diseases characterized by damage to the lining of the lungs.

In the study, a population of cells expressing the protein CCSP was identified in the bone marrow of both humans and mice. When cultured ex vivo these cells expressed markers of lung epithelial cells, the cells that line the lungs, and when the mouse cells were injected into mice they migrated to damaged lung tissue.

Further analysis showed that if mice lacking CCSP were transplanted with CCSP-sufficient bone marrow, cells derived from the CCSP-expressing bone marrow could be found in the lining of the lungs after they had been damaged.

The authors therefore suggest that by determining that CSSP-expressing bone marrow cells can contribute to reconstitution of the lining of the lung after damage, they have reconciled previous controversies regarding the ability of bone marrow cells to be a factor in lung regeneration.

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