White adipose tissue (WAT) is a heterogeneous tissue, found in various locations throughout the body, containing mature adipocytes and the stroma-vascular fraction (SVF). The SVF includes a large proportion of immune hematopoietic cells, among which, mast cells that contribute to diet-induced obesity. In this study, we asked whether mast cells present in mice adipose tissue could derive from hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPC) identified in the tissue. We therefore performed both in vitro and in vivo experiments dedicated to monitoring the progeny of WAT-derived HSPC. The entire study was conducted in parallel with bone marrow-derived cells, considered the gold standard for hematopoietic-lineage studies. Here, we demonstrate that adipose-derived HSPC contain a precursor-cell population committed to the mast cell lineage, and able to efficiently home to peripheral organs such as intestine and skin, where it acquires properties of functional tissue mast cells. Additionally, WAT contains a significant mast cell progenitor population, suggesting that the entire mast cell lineage process take place in WAT. Considering the quantitative importance of WAT in the adult organism and the increasing roles recently assigned to mast cells in physiopathology, WAT may represent an important source of mast cells in physiological and pathological situations.
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