Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) emerge and develop adjacent to blood vessel walls in the yolk sac, aorta-gonad-mesonephros region, embryonic liver, and fetal bone marrow. In adult mouse bone marrow, perivascular cells shape a "niche" for HSPCs. Mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs), which support hematopoiesis in culture, are themselves derived in part from perivascular cells. In order to define their direct role in hematopoiesis, we tested the ability of purified human CD146(+) perivascular cells, as compared with unfractionated MSCs and CD146(-) cells, to sustain human HSPCs in coculture. CD146(+) perivascular cells support the long-term persistence, through cell-to-cell contact and at least partly via Notch activation, of human myelolymphoid HSPCs able to engraft primary and secondary immunodeficient mice. Conversely, unfractionated MSCs and CD146(-) cells induce differentiation and compromise ex vivo maintenance of HSPCs. Moreover, CD146(+) perivascular cells express, natively and in culture, molecular markers of the vascular hematopoietic niche. Unexpectedly, this dramatic, previously undocumented ability to support hematopoietic stem cells is present in CD146(+) perivascular cells extracted from the nonhematopoietic adipose tissue.
- Perivascular cells maintain HSPCs ex vivo