Until recently, it was thought that only embryonic stem cells were pluripotent and that adult stem cells were restricted in their differentiative and regenerative potential to become the tissues in which they reside. However, the discovery that adult stem cells in one tissue can contribute to the formation of other tissues, especially after injury or cell damage, implies that stem cells have developmental plasticity. For example, haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from bone marrow can be used to regenerate diverse tissues at distant sites, including the lung. This article reviews the character of stem cells in the lung parenchyma and focuses on the potential uses of adult stem cells in research of lung injury and lung disease therapies.
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