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Open Access Autocrine TGF-β Induces Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition in Human Amniotic Epithelial Cells

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Human amniotic epithelial cells (hAECs) have been the object of intense research due to their potential therapeutic use. In this paper, we present molecular evidence of a bona fide epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) undergone by hAECs. Amniotic membrane (AM)-derived hAECs showed the presence of typical epithelial markers such as E-cadherin and cytokeratins. hAECs in culture, however, underwent morphological changes acquiring a mesenchymal shape. Epithelial cell markers were lost and typical mesenchymal markers, such as vimentin and α-SMA, appeared. Several genes associated with EMT, such as SNAI1, MMP9, PAI1, or ACTA2, increased their expression. The expression of the transcription activators KLF4 or MTA3 was consistent with the downregulation of CDH1. We have shown that hAECs undergo EMT due to the autocrine production of TGF-β. Furthermore, the addition of the TGF-β receptor I (ALK5) inhibitor SB-431542 or TGF-β neutralizing antibody to hAECs prevented EMT and preserved the hAECs' epithelial phenotype. Altogether, these results suggest that cultured hAECs undergo EMT through the autocrine production of TGF-β.

Keywords: Amniotic membrane (AM); Epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT); Human amniotic epithelial cells (hAECs); Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β)

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2013-08-09

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.
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