11 November 2019

Scientists have discovered a ‘new wave’ of production of haematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) which occurs in the late-foetus / early-adult stage of chickens and mice. These HSPCs are generated from endothelial cells in the embryo, and bridges the gap between embryonic and adult haematopoiesis, the researchers say.

Their discoveries could eventually lead to new ways to produce haematopoietic stem cells in vitro, to address the shortage of donor cells for replacing defective cells in patients with blood-related diseases.

The first haematopoietic stem cells during the development of the embryo come from endothelial cells which line the main arteries such as the aorta. This endothelial-to-haematopoietic transition was previously believed to be entirely superseded by haematopoietic stem cells migrate to the bone marrow, the site of blood production throughout adult life.

However, a team led by Dr Thierry Jaffredo of the Sorbonne University in Paris has now discovered that endothelial cells in the bone marrow vasculature continue to produce HSPCs in the late foetus/young adult.

The team set out to gain a better understanding of where, when and how HSPCs are produced in the living body. Through a combination of experimental embryology, genetic, transcriptomic and functional approaches on chicken and mouse models, they highlighted a “previously unappreciated haematopoietic wave” in the bone marrow of late foetuses and young adults.

“This transient haematopoietic wave fills the gap between the completion of embryonic blood production and the beginning of adult bone marrow haematopoietic production in both chicken and mice,” they report in the journal Nature Cell Biology.

“Identifying all steps of haematopoietic production and the molecular events controlling this process is of fundamental interest and should help to devise innovative stem cell therapies for haematopoietic disorders in the future,” they conclude.



Yvernogeau L, Gautier R, Petit L, Khoury H, Relaix F, Ribes V, Sang H, Charbord P, Souyri M, Robin C, Jaffredo T (2019) “In vivo generation of haematopoietic stem/progenitor cells from bone marrow-derived haemogenic endothelium”, Nature Cell Biology, doi: 10.1038/s41556-019-0410-6


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