hDlk-1: a cell surface marker common to normal hepatic stem/progenitor cells and carcinomas.

Department of Developmental and Regenerative Biology, Medical Research Institute, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, 1-5-45 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8510, Japan.
Journal of Biochemistry (Impact Factor: 3.07). 06/2012; 152(2):121-3. DOI: 10.1093/jb/mvs069
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Advances in stem cell biology have clarified that a tumour is a collection of heterogeneous cell populations, and that only a small fraction of tumour cells possesses the potential to self-renew. Delta-like 1 protein (Dlk-1) is a surface antigen present on foetal hepatic stem/progenitor cells but absent from mature hepatocytes in neonatal and adult rodent liver. Using a monoclonal antibody (mAb) against hDlk-1, Yanai et al. (Dlk-1, a cell surface antigen on foetal hepatic stem/progenitor cells, is expressed in hepatocellular, colon, pancreas and breast carcinomas at a high frequency. J. Biochem. 2010;148:85-92) have shown that human (h) Dlk-1 is expressed in human foetal, but not adult, liver and that 20% of all hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) are hDlk-1(+). Importantly, an even higher percentage of HCCs in younger patients are hDLK-1(+). These authors also found that hDlk-1 is present at high frequency in colon adenocarcinomas, pancreatic islet carcinomas and small cell lung carcinomas. Here, I discuss the implications of the expression of foetal hepatic stem/progenitor cell antigens on carcinoma cells.

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    ABSTRACT: Liver stem/progenitor cells (LSPCs) are able to duplicate themselves and differentiate into each type of cells in the liver, including mature hepatocytes and cholangiocytes. Understanding how to accurately control the hepatic differentiation of LSPCs is a challenge in many fields from preclinical to clinical treatments. This review summarizes the recent advances made to control the hepatic differentiation of LSPCs over the last few decades. The hepatic differentiation of LSPCs is a gradual process consisting of three main steps: initiation, progression and accomplishment. The unbalanced distribution of the affecting materials in each step results in the hepatic maturation of LSPCs. As the innovative and creative works for generating hepatocytes with full functions from LSPCs are gradually accumulated, LSPC therapies will soon be a new choice for treating liver diseases.
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