Endothelial cells in the early murine yolk sac give rise to CD41-expressing hematopoietic cells

Weiming Li, Michael J. Ferkowicz, Scott A. Johnson, William C. Shelley, Mervin C. Yoder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Scopus citations


Hematopoietic and endothelial cells may be derived from a common precursor cell (hemangioblast) during embryogenesis; however, some evidence suggests that hematopoietic cells may emerge from endothelial cells. The onset of definitive hematopoiesis at E8.25 in the murine embryo is marked by high-level CD41 expression. We questioned whether these hematopoietic cells were derived directly from mesoderm cells or emerged from endothelium. At 8.25 days post coitus (dpc), CD41 was co-expressed with CD31, CD34, and Flk1 in some intraluminal round cells that appeared to arise from flattened endothelial cells lining yolk sac capillary vessels. Cell-sorting studies revealed that all subpopulations of cells expressing CD41 possessed hematopoietic activity. Surprisingly, Tie2+Flk1+ cells, a phenotype enriched in adult endothelial progenitors, also displayed some hematopoietic progenitor activity in vitro, but this activity was restricted to the CD41+ fraction; only endothelial cells were derived from freshly isolated Tie2 +Flk1bright CD41- cells. Tie2 +Flk1dimCD41- 8.25-dpc yolk sac cells devoid of hematopoietic progenitor activity gave rise to endothelial-like capillary networks in vitro and differentiated upon co-culture with OP9 stromal cells into definitive hematopoietic progenitors. These results demonstrate that CD41-expressing definitive hematopoietic cells appear to arise from endothelial cells lining nascent capillaries in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-54
Number of pages11
JournalStem Cells and Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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