Aim: Reliable makers for progenitor cells in the human stomach have not been elucidated. The aim of the present study was to clarify whether Musashi-1 (Msi-1), which has recently been proposed as a stem cell marker in mouse intestine, serves as a marker for progenitor cells in human stomach. Methods and results: Immunohistochemistry revealed that Msi-1+ cells were detected especially in the isthmus/neck region (the putative position of stem cells) of the adult antrum, but were limited to the basal regions of fetal pyloric glands during the early stages of development. These results suggest that Msi-1 expression occurs specifically in the stem cell-containing regions. Msi-1+ cells were intermingled with proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA)+ cells in the isthmus/neck region of the adult antrum, but did not coexpress PCNA or Ki67. Msi-1 expression overlapped partly with expression of MUC5AC and MUC6, indicating that Msi-1+ cells retain some features of both foveolar and pyloric gland cell differentiation phenotypes. In contrast, Msi-1 expression in gastric glands showing intestinal metaplasia (IM) became weaker than that in the glands without IM. Conclusion: The specific expression of Msi-1 within the proliferative regions suggests that Msi-1 is a marker of cells with progenitor characteristics before active proliferation in human antrum.
ASJC Scopus subject areas