The use of peritoneal mesothelium as a potential source of adult stem cells

The International Journal of Artificial Organs. 2007 Jun;30(6):501-12. [Link]

Gotloib L, Gotloib LC, Khrizman V.

Laboratory for Experimental Nephrology, Ha’Emek Medical Center, Afula 18101, Israel.


At the dawn of the 21st century, classical curative medicine is being challenged by the fact that efforts to fight and prevent not a few diseases, are in many circumstances, beyond the power of the pharmacological armamentarium of the medical profession. On the other hand, replacement of lost function by mechanical or biophysical devices, or even by organ transplantation, prolongs life but generally derives in new and, at times, unsolvable problems. Regenerative therapy using stem cells began a revolutionary trend that may well change both the therapeutic approach to not a few of the diseases resulting from failing organs, as well as the fate and quality of life of millions of patients. The presence of pluripotent mesenchymal cells in the mesothelial monolayer as well as in the submesothelial connective tissue raises the possibility of using the peritoneal mesothelium in regenerative therapies. This perception of the problem is also based on observations made in humans as well as in laboratory animals showing bone, bone marrow, cartilaginous tissue, glomerular-like structures and creation of blood conducts, pathological situations (mesothelioma, sclerosing peritonitis), or after in vivo or ex vivo experimental interventions. The main concept emerging from this information is that peritoneal mesothelial cells are endowed with such a degree of plasticity that, if placed in the appropriate micro-environment, they have a remarkable potential to generate other mesenchymal-derived cell lines. Intensive research is required to define the best environmental conditions to take advantage of this plasticity and make the peritoneal mesothelium an actual option to be applied in regenerative medicine.