Background The origin of infantile haemangioma (IH) remains enigmatic. A primitive mesodermal phenotype origin of IH with the ability to differentiate down erythropoietic and terminal mesenchymal lineages has recently been demonstrated.
Aims To investigate the expression of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) markers in IH and to determine whether IH-derived cells have the functional capacity to form teratoma in vivo.
Methods Immunohistochemical staining and quantitative reverse transcription PCR were used to investigate the expression of hESC markers in IH biopsies. The ability of cells derived from proliferating IH to form teratomas in a mouse xenograft model was investigated.
Results The hESC markers, Oct-4, STAT-3 and stage-specific embryonic antigen 4 were collectively expressed on the endothelium of proliferating IH lesions, whereas Nanog was not. Nanog was expressed by cells in the interstitium and these cells did not express Oct-4, stage-specific embryonic antigen 4 or STAT-3. Proliferating IH-derived cells were unable to form teratomas in severely compromised immunodeficient/non-obese diabetic mice.
Conclusion The novel expression of hESC on two different populations of cells in proliferating IH and their inability to form teratomas in vivo infer the presence of a primitive cellular origin for IH downstream from hESC.
- biological sciences
- cancer research
- cancer stem cells
- cell biology
- embryonic stem cells
- haemogenic endothelium
- head and neck cancer
- infantile haemangioma
- primitive mesoderm
- tumour biology
- tumour markers
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