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Biomolecular Concepts

Editor-in-Chief: Jollès, Pierre / Mansuy, Isabelle

Editorial Board Member: Avila, Jesus / Bollen, Mathieu / Bonetto, Valentina / Cera, Enrico / Jorgensen, Erik / Jörnvall, Hans / Lagasse, Eric / Norman, Robert / Pinna, Lorenzo / Raghavan, K. Vijay / Venetianer, Pal / Wahli, Walter

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2014: 0.375
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2014: 0.258
Impact per Publication (IPP) 2014: 0.931



1 / Laurenţiu M. Popescu2, 3

1Section of Histology, Department of Anatomy, Histology and Forensic Medicine, University of Florence, Viale G. Pieraccini 6, I-50139 Florence, Italy

2Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine ‘Carol Davila’ University of Medicine and Pharmacy, P.O. Box 35-29, Bucharest 35, Romania

3Department of Advanced Studies, ‘Victor Babeş’ National Institute of Pathology, 99-101 Splaiul Independenţei, RO-050096 Bucharest, Romania

Corresponding author

Citation Information: BioMolecular Concepts. Volume 2, Issue 6, Pages 481–489, ISSN (Online) 1868-503X, ISSN (Print) 1868-5021, DOI: 10.1515/BMC.2011.039, December 2011

Publication History



Here, we review the history, morphology, immunohistochemical phenotype, and presumptive roles of a new type of interstitial tissue cells, formerly called interstitial Cajal-like cells (ICLC) and by 2010 named ‘telocytes’ (TC). Many different techniques have been used to characterize TC and provide their unequivocal identification: (i) in vitro, cultures and isolated cells; (ii) in situ, fixed specimens examined by light and fluorescence microscopy, transmission (TEM) and scanning electron microscopy, and electron tomography. TEM allowed sure identification and characterization of the most peculiar feature of TC: the long, thin, and convoluted prolongations named ‘telopodes’. An enormous variety of antibodies have been tested, but presently none are reliable to specifically label TC. TC have a mesenchymal origin and are resident connective tissue (stromal) cells. Possible identification with ‘already identified’ stromal cell types (fibroblasts, fibrocytes, fibroblast-like cells, and mesenchymal stromal cells) is discussed. We conclude that in adulthood, most of the TC have the morphology of fibrocytes. Apparently, immunocytochemistry suggests that a variety of TC populations showing different, likely organ-specific, immunophenotypes might exist. Several roles have been hypothesized for TC: mechanical roles, intercellular signaling, guiding and nursing of immature cells during organogenesis, and being themselves a pool of precursors for many of the mesenchyme-derived cells in adulthood; however, none of these roles have been proven yet. On the basis of the available data, we propose TC may be key players in organ regeneration and repair.

Keywords: fibroblasts; interstitial Cajal-like cells (ICLC); interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC); mesenchymal cells; telopodes

Citing Articles

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Yihua Bei, Fei Wang, Changqing Yang, and Junjie Xiao
Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, 2015, Page n/a
Jian Yang, Chi Chi, Zhen Liu, Gang Yang, Zong-Ji Shen, and Xiao-Jun Yang
Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, 2015, Page n/a
Xiao-Jun Yang, Jian Yang, Zhen Liu, Gang Yang, and Zong-Ji Shen
Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, 2015, Volume 19, Number 2, Page 452
Mihaela Gherghiceanu and Laurentiu M. Popescu
Cell and Tissue Research, 2012, Volume 348, Number 2, Page 265
B.O. Popescu, M. Gherghiceanu, S. Kostin, L. Ceafalan, and L.M. Popescu
Neuroscience Letters, 2012, Volume 516, Number 2, Page 265
Mihnea I. Nicolescu, Alexandru Bucur, Octavian Dinca, Mugurel C. Rusu, and Laurentiu M. Popescu
The Anatomical Record: Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology, 2012, Volume 295, Number 3, Page 378
Y. Zheng, H. Li, C. G. Manole, A. Sun, J. Ge, and X. Wang
Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, 2011, Volume 15, Number 10, Page 2262
C. G. Manole, V. Cismaşiu, Mihaela Gherghiceanu, and L. M. Popescu
Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, 2011, Volume 15, Number 11, Page 2284

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