The generation of new blood vessels via angiogenesis is critical for meeting tissue oxygen demands. A role for adult stem cells in this process remains unclear. Here, we identified CD157 (bst1, bone marrow stromal antigen 1) as a marker of tissue-resident vascular endothelial stem cells (VESCs) in large arteries and veins of numerous mouse organs. Single CD157 + VESCs form colonies in vitro and generate donor-derived portal vein, sinusoids, and central vein endothelial cells upon transplantation in the liver. In response to injury, VESCs expand and regenerate entire vasculature structures, supporting the existence of an endothelial hierarchy within blood vessels. Genetic lineage tracing revealed that VESCs maintain large vessels and sinusoids in the normal liver for more than a year, and transplantation of VESCs rescued bleeding phenotypes in a mouse model of hemophilia. Our findings show that tissue-resident VESCs display self-renewal capacity and that vascular regeneration potential exists in peripheral blood vessels. Whether tissue-resident vascular endothelial stem cells (VESCs) exist has remained unclear. The present study demonstrates that CD157 marks vessel-resident VESCs in mouse organs that are capable of clonal expansion, angiogenesis initiation, and blood vessel maintenance. These findings represent a paradigm shift in understanding endothelial cell hierarchy within the blood vessels.
- endothelial colony-forming cell
- side population
- vascular endothelial stem cells
- vascular regeneration
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine
- Cell Biology