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Dev Biol. 2007 Jan 15;301(2):478-88. Epub 2006 Sep 6.

Hematopoietic potential of the pre-fusion allantois.

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  • 1Institut Cochin, Département d'Hématologie, 123, Boulevard de Port-Royal, 75014 Paris, France.


We previously showed that the fetal component of the placenta has a vigorous hematopoietic activity. Whether this organ is an environmental niche where hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) proliferate and become committed to various lineages, or whether it is also a site for HSC emergence, was left open. This issue can be addressed only if the components that will give rise to the placenta are tested prior to vascularization. The fetal part of the placenta forms through the fusion of the allantois and the chorionic plate around the stage of 7 somite pairs. The allantois, a mesodermal rudiment that provides fetal blood vessels to the placenta, was retrieved before fusion. We found in this rudiment expression of CD41, a known marker of early embryonic hematopoietic progenitors. c-Kit encoding a progenitor specific receptor was also expressed. Significantly, as early as the 1-2 somite stage, the allantois yielded erythroid, myeloid and multipotent clonogenic progenitors, when pre-cultured in toto prior to seeding in a semisolid medium. These results provide evidence that the allantois has hematopoietic potential per se. Whether this potential also involves the ability to produce HSC is still to be determined.

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