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Dev Cell. 2006 Nov;11(5):723-32.

Multipotent flk-1+ cardiovascular progenitor cells give rise to the cardiomyocyte, endothelial, and vascular smooth muscle lineages.

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Department of Gene and Cell Medicine, The Black Family Stem Cell Institute, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York 10029, USA.


Cell-tracing studies in the mouse indicate that the cardiac lineage arises from a population that expresses the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2, Flk-1), suggesting that it may develop from a progenitor with vascular potential. Using the embryonic stem (ES) cell differentiation model, we have identified a cardiovascular progenitor based on the temporal expression of the primitive streak (PS) marker brachyury and Flk-1. Comparable progenitors could also be isolated from head-fold stage embryos. When cultured with cytokines known to function during cardiogenesis, individual cardiovascular progenitors generated colonies that displayed cardiomyocyte, endothelial, and vascular smooth muscle (VSM) potential. Isolation and characterization of this previously unidentified population suggests that the mammalian cardiovascular system develops from multipotential progenitors.

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