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Cell Res. 2004 Aug;14(4):268-82.

Identification of a novel population of human cord blood cells with hema-topoietic and chondrocytic potential.

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Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, The John P. Robarts Research Institute, 100 Perth Drive, London, Ontario, N6A 5K8, Canada.


With the exception of mature erythrocytes, cells within the human hematopoietic system are characterized by the cell surface expression of the pan-leukocyte receptor CD45. Here, we identify a novel subset among mononuclear cord blood cells depleted of lineage commitment markers (Lin-) that are devoid of CD45 expression. Surprisingly, functional examination of Lin-CD45- cells also lacking cell surface CD34 revealed they were capable of multipotential hematopoietic progenitor capacity. Co-culture with mouse embryonic limb bud cells demonstrated that Lin-CD45-CD34- cells were capable of contributing to cartilage nodules and differentiating into human chondrocytes. BMP-4, a mesodermal factor known to promote chondrogenesis, significantly augmented Lin-CD45-CD34- differentiation into chondrocytes. Moreover, unlike CD34+ human hematopoietic stem cells, Lin-CD45-CD34- cells were unable to proliferate or survive in liquid cultures, whereas single Lin-CD45-CD34- cells were able to chimerize the inner cell mass (ICM) of murine blastocysts and proliferate in this embryonic environment. Our study identifies a novel population of Lin-CD45-CD34- cells capable of commitment into both hematopoietic and chondrocytic lineages, suggesting that human cord blood may provide a more ubiquitous source of tissue with broader developmental potential than previously appreciated.

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