Development of mesenchymal stem cells partially originate from the neural crest

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009 Feb 20;379(4):1114-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2009.01.031. Epub 2009 Jan 20.


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are a heterogeneous subset of stromal stem cells isolated from many adult tissues. Previous studies reported that MSCs can differentiate to both mesodermal and neural lineages by a phenomenon referred to as ''dedifferentiation'' or ''transdifferentiation''. However, since MSCs have only been defined in vitro, much of their development in vivo is still unknown. Here, we prospectively identified MSCs in the bone marrow from adult transgenic mice encoding neural crest-specific P0-Cre/Floxed-EGFP and Wnt1-Cre/Floxed-EGFP. EGFP-positive MSCs formed spheres that expressed neural crest stem cell genes and differentiated into neurons, glial cells, and myofibroblasts. Interestingly, we observed MSCs both in the GFP(+) and GFP(-) fraction and found that there were no significant differences in the in vitro characteristics between these two populations. Our results suggest that MSCs in adult bone marrow have at least two developmental origins, one of which is the neural crest.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ataxin-1
  • Ataxins
  • Blood Group Antigens / analysis
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Lineage*
  • Clone Cells
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens / analysis
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / analysis
  • Neural Crest / chemistry
  • Neural Crest / cytology*
  • Nuclear Proteins / analysis
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor alpha / analysis


  • Ataxin-1
  • Ataxins
  • Atxn1 protein, mouse
  • Blood Group Antigens
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • TER-119 antigen, mouse
  • enhanced green fluorescent protein
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor alpha
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens