Tonsil-derived stem cells as a new source of adult stem cells

Kyung Ah Cho, Hyun Jung Lee, Hansaem Jeong, Miri Kim, Soo Yeon Jung, Hae Sang Park, Kyung Ha Ryu, Seung Jin Lee, Byeongmoon Jeong, Hyukjin Lee, Han Su Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Located near the oropharynx, the tonsils are the primary mucosal immune organ. Tonsil tissue is a promising alternative source for the high-yield isolation of adult stem cells, and recent studies have reported the identification and isolation of tonsil-derived stem cells (T-SCs) from waste surgical tissue following tonsillectomies in relatively young donors (i.e., under 10 years old). As such, TSCs offer several advantages, including superior proliferation and a shorter doubling time compared to bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). T-SCs also exhibit multi-lineage differentiation, including mesodermal, endodermal (e.g., hepatocytes and parathyroid-like cells), and even ectodermal cells (e.g., Schwann cells). To this end, numbers of researchers have evaluated the practical use of T-SCs as an alternative source of autologous or allogenic MSCs. In this review, we summarize the details of T-SC isolation and identification and provide an overview of their application in cell therapy and regenerative medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-518
Number of pages13
JournalWorld Journal of Stem Cells
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.


  • Cell therapy
  • Differentiation
  • Ectoderm
  • Endoderm
  • Mesoderm
  • Stem cell
  • Tonsil-derived stem cell


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