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Cell Stem Cell. 2012 Nov 2;11(5):663-75. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2012.07.004.

Mouse embryonic head as a site for hematopoietic stem cell development.

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307-Ivy Translational Medicine Center, Laboratory of Oncology, Affiliated Hospital of Academy of Military Medical Sciences, Beijing 100071, China.


In the mouse embryo, the aorta-gonad-mesonephros (AGM) region is considered to be the sole location for intraembryonic emergence of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Here we report that, in parallel to the AGM region, the E10.5-E11.5 mouse head harbors bona fide HSCs, as defined by long-term, high-level, multilineage reconstitution and self-renewal capacity in adult recipients, before HSCs enter the circulation. The presence of hemogenesis in the midgestation head is indicated by the appearance of intravascular cluster cells and the blood-forming capacity of a sorted endothelial cell population. In addition, lineage tracing via an inducible VE-cadherin-Cre transgene demonstrates the hemogenic capacity of head endothelium. Most importantly, a spatially restricted lineage labeling system reveals the physiological contribution of cerebrovascular endothelium to postnatal HSCs and multilineage hematopoiesis. We conclude that the mouse embryonic head is a previously unappreciated site for HSC emergence within the developing embryo.

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