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Human ethmoid sinus mucosa: a promising novel tissue source of mesenchymal progenitor cells

Kyu-Sup Cho1, Hee-Young Park1, Hwan-Jung Roh2, Dawn T Bravo3, Peter H Hwang3 and Jayakar V Nayak3*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Biomedical Research Institute, Pusan National University School of Medicine, 1-10 Ami-dong, Seo-gu, Busan 602-739, Korea

2 Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Research Institute for Convergence of Biomedical Science and Technology, Pusan National University Yangsan Hospital, Yangsan, South Korea

3 Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Stanford University School of Medicine, 300 Pasteur Drive, Edwards Building, R113, Stanford, CA 94305, USA

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Stem Cell Research & Therapy 2014, 5:15  doi:10.1186/scrt404

Published: 24 January 2014



The identification of new progenitor cell sources is important for cell-based tissue engineering strategies, understanding regional tissue regeneration, and modulating local microenvironments and immune response. However, there are no reports that describe the identification and isolation of mesenchymal progenitor cells (MPCs) from paranasal sinus mucosa, and compare the properties of MPCs between tissue sources within the sinonasal cavity. We report here the identification of MPCs in the maxillary sinus (MS) and ethmoid sinus (ES). Furthermore, we contrast these MPCs in the same individuals with MPCs from two additional head and neck tissue sources of the inferior turbinate (IT) and tonsil (T).


These four MPC sources were exhaustively compared for morphology, colony-forming potential, proliferation capability, immunophenotype, multilineage differentiation potential, and ability to produce soluble factors.


MS-, ES, IT-, and T-MPCs showed similar morphologies and surface phenotypes, as well as adipogenic, osteogenic, and chondrogenic differentiation capacity by immunohistochemistry and qRT-PCR for defined lineage-specific genes. However, we noted that the colony-forming potential and proliferation capability of ES-MPCs were distinctly higher than other MPCs. All MPCs constitutively, or upon stimulation, secrete large amounts of IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IFN-γ, and TGF-β. After stimulation with TNF-α and IFN-γ, ES-MPCs notably demonstrated significantly higher secretion of IL-6 and IL-10 than other MPCs.


ES-MPCs may be a uniquely promising source of MPCs due to their high proliferation ability and superior capacity toward secretion of immunomodulatory cytokines.