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Telocytes (TCs), commonly referred to as TCs/CD34+ stromal cells, are a peculiar type of interstitial cells with distinctive morphologic traits that are supposed to exert several biological functions, including tissue homeostasis regulation, cell-to-cell signaling, immune surveillance, and reparative/regenerative effects. At present, the majority of studies investigating these cells are mainly descriptive and focus only on their morphology, with a consequent paucity of functional data. To gain relevant insight into the possible functions of TCs, in vitro analyses are clearly required, but currently, the protocols for TC isolation are only at the early stages and not fully standardized. In the present in vitro study, we describe a novel methodology for the purification of human primary skin TCs through a two-step immunomagnetic microbead-based cell separation (i.e., negative selection for CD31 followed by positive selection for CD34) capable of discriminating these cells from other connective tissue-resident cells on the basis of their different immunophenotypic features. Our experiments clearly demonstrated that the proposed method allows a selective purification of cells exhibiting the peculiar TC morphology. Isolated TCs displayed very long cytoplasmic extensions with a moniliform silhouette (telopodes) and presented an immunophenotypic profile (CD31-/CD34+/PDGFRα+/vimentin+) that unequivocally differentiates them from endothelial cells (CD31+/CD34+/PDGFRα-/vimentin+) and fibroblasts (CD31-/CD34-/PDGFRα+/vimentin+). This novel methodology for the isolation of TCs lays the groundwork for further research aimed at elucidating their functional properties and possible translational applications, especially in the field of regenerative medicine.


Eloisa Romano, Irene Rosa, Bianca Saveria Fioretto, Elena Lucattelli, Marco Innocenti, Lidia Ibba-Manneschi, Marco Matucci-Cerinic, Mirko Manetti. A Two-Step Immunomagnetic Microbead-Based Method for the Isolation of Human Primary Skin Telocytes/CD34+ Stromal Cells. International journal of molecular sciences. 2020 Aug 16;21(16)

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PMID: 32824287

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