Generation of hematopoietic stem cells from purified embryonic endothelial cells by a simple and efficient strategy

Zhuan Li, Fan Zhou, Dongbo Chen, Wenyan He, Yanli Ni, Lingfei Luo, Bing Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent progress by versatile approaches supports the new hypothesis that multi-potent hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are directly formed from a rare population of endothelial cells in mid-gestation mouse embryos. This process is therefore known as the endothelial-to-hematopoietic transition (EHT). Nevertheless, there is no functional evidence that documents the HSC transition from purified endothelial cells. In this study, we developed an OP9-DL1-based co-culture system that was able to facilitate the HSC specification and/or expansion in vitro of mouse embryonic day 10.5 (E10.5) Tie2(+) cells remarkably. Then, the immunophenotypically defined endothelial cells were harvested by a combination of surface markers (Flk1(+)CD31(+)CD41(-)CD45(-)Ter119(-)) from the caudal half of E10.0-E11.0 mouse embryos. The transplantation of the endothelia/OP9-DL1 co-cultures led to long-term, high-level, multi-lineage, and multi-organ hematopoietic reconstitution in the irradiated adult recipients. The induced HSC activity was initially observed at E10.5, and a significant increase was detected at E11.0, which suggests a temporally specific regulation. Taken together, for the first time, we provide functional evidence showing the HSC potential of purified embryonic endothelial cells, which is indispensable for the emerging EHT concept. Moreover, the newly defined co-culture system will aid the exploration of the key molecules governing the HSC transition from embryonic and even postnatal endothelial cells, which has enormous significance in basic and translational research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-63
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Genetics and Genomics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2013


  • Animals
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Endothelial Cells
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells
  • Mice


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