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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 438079, 6 pages
Research Article

Expression of Stem Cell Markers in Primo Vessel of Rat

1Department of Physiology, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, 88 43-Gil Olympic-Ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul 138-736, Republic of Korea
2Department of Medicine, Graduate School, University of Ulsan, 88 43-Gil Olympic-Ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul 138-736, Republic of Korea

Received 7 February 2013; Accepted 10 July 2013

Academic Editor: Byung-Cheon Lee

Copyright © 2013 Eun Seok Park et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Accumulating line of evidence support that adult tissues contain a rare population of pluripotent stem cells (PSCs), which differentiate into all types of cells in our body. Bonghan microcell (primo microcells (PMCs)) discovered in 1960s was reported to have a pluripotency like a stem cell in vivo as well as in vitro condition. Here, we describe the detailed morphology and molecular features of PMCs. PMCs reside in Bonghan duct (primo vessel (PV)) reported as a corresponding structure of acupuncture points and meridian system. We found that PMCs were frequently observed in the liver surface of the rat between 300 g and 400 g from April to June, suggesting that the their detection frequency depends on the weight, the season, and the organ of rat. As reported, PMCs freshly isolated from PVs were spherical ~1-2 μm microsized cells. In contrast, a unique bithread or budding-shaped PMCs emerged during tissue culture around 8 days. RT-PCR analysis demonstrated that PVs-derived cells express the Oct4, the most important PSCs gene, in addition to several PSCs markers (Sox2, Stella, Rex1, and Klf4). Thus, we for the first time provide the evidence about Oct4-expressing stem-like characteristics for cells resident in PVs, a possible novel stem cell enriched niche.