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Blood. 2006 Jul 15;108(2):501-9. Epub 2006 Mar 21.

The differentiation program of embryonic definitive hematopoietic stem cells is largely alpha4 integrin independent.

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  • 1Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre Development in Stem Cell Biology, Institute for Stem Cell Research, University of Edinburgh, UK.


Previous analyses of the roles of alpha4 integrins in hematopoiesis by other groups have led to conflicting evidence. alpha4 integrin mutant cells developing in [alpha4 integrin(-/-): wt] chimeric mice are not capable of completing lymphomyeloid differentiation, whereas conditional inactivation of alpha4 integrin in adult mice has only subtle effects. We show here that circumventing the fetal stage of hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) development by transplantation of embryonic alpha4 integrin(-/-) cells into the adult microenvironment results in robust and stable long-term generation of alpha4 integrin(-/-) lymphoid and myeloid cells, although colonization of Peyer patches and the peritoneal cavity is significantly impaired. We argue here that collectively, our data and the data from other groups suggest a specific requirement for alpha4 integrin during the fetal/neonatal stages of HSC development that is essential for normal execution of the lymphomyeloid differentiation program.

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