Telocytes (TCs), a novel cell type, are briefly defined as interstitial cells with telopodes (Tps). However, a specific immunocytochemical marker has not yet been found; therefore, electron microscopy is currently the only accurate method for identifying TCs. TCs are considered to have a mesenchymal origin. Recently proteomic analysis, microarray-based gene expression analysis, and the micro-RNA signature clearly showed that TCs are different from fibroblasts, mesenchymal stem cells, and endothelial cells. The dynamics of Tps were also revealed, and some electrophysiological properties of TCs were described (such as membrane capacitance, input resistance, membrane resting potential, and absence of action potentials correlated with different ionic currents characteristics), which can be used to distinguish uterine TCs from smooth muscle cells (SMCs). Here, we briefly present the most recent findings on the characteristics of TCs and their functions in human pregnant and nonpregnant uteri.
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