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Normal and cancer stem cells of the human female reproductive system

Jacqueline López1, Francisco J Valdez-Morales2, Luis Benítez-Bribiesca3, Marco Cerbón2 and Alejandro García Carrancá45*

Author Affiliations

1 Programa de Doctorado en Ciencias Bioquímicas, Facultad de Química, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico

2 Facultad de Química, Biología de la Reproducción, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico

3 Unidad de Investigación Médica en Enfermedades Oncológicas, Hospital de Oncología, Centro Médico Nacional Siglo XXI IMSS, Mexico City, Mexico

4 Unidad de Investigación Biomédica en Cáncer, Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, San Fernando No. 22, Col. Sección XVI, Tlalpan 14080, Mexico City, Mexico

5 División de Investigación Básica, Instituto Nacional de Cancerología, Secretaría de Salud, San Fernando No. 22, Col. Sección XVI, Tlalpan 14080, Mexico City, Mexico

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Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 2013, 11:53  doi:10.1186/1477-7827-11-53

Published: 19 June 2013

Abstract

The female reproductive system (FRS) has a great capacity for regeneration. The existence of somatic stem cells (SSC) that are likely to reside in distinct tissue compartments of the FRS is anticipated. Normal SSC are capable of regenerating themselves, produce a progeny of cells that differentiate and maintain tissue architecture and functional characteristics, and respond to homeostatic controls. Among those SSC of the FRS that have been identified are: a) undifferentiated cells capable of differentiating into thecal cells and synthesizing hormones upon transplantation, b) ovarian surface epithelium stem cells, mitotically responsive to ovulation, c) uterine endometrial and myometrial cells, as clonogenic epithelial and stromal cells, and d) epithelial and mesenchymal cells with self-renewal capacity and multipotential from cervical tissues. Importantly, these cells are believed to significantly contribute to the development of different pathologies and tumors of the FRS.

It is now widely accepted that cancer stem cells (CSC) are at the origin of many tumors. They are capable of regenerating themselves, produce a progeny that will differentiate aberrantly and do not respond adequately to homeostatic controls. Several cell surface antigens such as CD44, CD117, CD133 and MYD88 have been used to isolate ovarian cancer stem cells. Clonogenic epithelial and stromal endometrial and myometrial cells have been found in normal and cancer tissues, as side population, label-retaining cells, and CD146/PDGF-R beta-positive cells with stem-like features. In summary, here we describe a number of studies supporting the existence of somatic stem cells in the normal tissues and cancer stem cells in tumors of the human female reproductive system.

Keywords:
Stem cells; Cancer stem cells; Human; Female; Reproductive biology