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Cell Cycle. 2011 May 1;10(9):1370-3. Epub 2011 May 1.

Endothelial origin of mesenchymal stem cells.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Wisconsin, School of Medicine and Public Health; National Primate Research Center, University of Wisconsin Graduate School; Madison, WI, USA.


Mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) are fibroblastoid cells capable of long-term expansion and skeletogenic differentiation. While MSCs are known to originate from neural crest and mesoderm, immediate mesodermal precursors that give rise to MSCs have not been characterized. Recently, using human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), we demonstrated that mesodermal MSCs arise from APLNR+ precursors with angiogenic potential, mesenchymoangioblasts, which can be identified by FGF2-dependent colony-forming assay in serum-free semisolid medium. In this overview we provide additional insights on cellular pathways leading to MSC establishment from mesoderm, with special emphasis on endothelial-mesenchymal transition as a critical step in MSC formation. In addition, we highlight an essential role of FGF2 in induction of angiogenic cells with potential to transform into MSCs (mesenchymoangioblasts) or hematopoietic cells (hemangioblasts) from mesoderm, and discuss correlations of our in vitro findings with the course of angioblast development during embryogenesis.

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