For the identification of a stem cell population, the comparison of transcriptome data enables the simultaneous analysis of tens of thousands of molecular markers and thus enables the precise distinction of even closely related populations. Here, we utilized global gene expression profiling to compare two adult human stem cell populations, namely neural crest-derived inferior turbinate stem cells (ITSCs) of the nasal cavity and human cardiac stem cells (hCSCs) from the heart auricle. We detected high similarities between the transcriptomes of both stem cell populations, particularly including a range of neural crest-associated genes. However, global gene expression likewise reflected differences between the stem cell populations with regard to their niches of origin. In a broader analysis, we further identified clear similarities between ITSCs, hCSCs and other adherent stem cell populations compared to non-adherent hematopoietic progenitor cells. In summary, our observations reveal high similarities between adult human cardiac stem cells and neural crest-derived stem cells from the nasal cavity, which include a shared relation to the neural crest. The analyses provided here may help to understand underlying molecular regulators determining differences between adult human stem cell populations.
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