Secondary lymphoid organ stromal cells comprise different subsets whose origins remain unknown. Herein, we exploit a genetic lineage-tracing approach to show that splenic fibroblastic reticular cells (FRCs), follicular dendritic cells (FDCs), marginal reticular cells (MRCs), and mural cells, but not endothelial cells, originate from embryonic mesenchymal progenitors of the Nkx2-5(+)Islet1(+) lineage. This lineage include embryonic mesenchymal cells with lymphoid tissue organizer (LTo) activity capable also of supporting ectopic lymphoid-like structures and a subset of resident spleen stromal cells that proliferate and regenerate the splenic stromal microenvironment following resolution of a viral infection. These findings identify progenitor cells that generate stromal diversity in spleen development and repair and suggest the existence of multipotent stromal progenitors in the adult spleen with regenerative capacity.
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