Bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) play pivotal roles in tissue maintenance and regeneration. Their origins, however, remain incompletely understood. Here we identify rare LNGFR+ cells in human fetal and regenerative bone marrow that co-express endothelial and stromal markers. This endothelial subpopulation displays transcriptional reprogramming consistent with endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EndoMT) and can generate multipotent stromal cells that reconstitute the bone marrow (BM) niche upon transplantation. Single-cell transcriptomics and lineage tracing in mice confirm robust and sustained contributions of EndoMT to bone precursor and hematopoietic niche pools. Interleukin-33 (IL-33) is overexpressed in subsets of EndoMT cells and drives this conversion process through ST2 receptor signaling. These data reveal generation of tissue-forming BMSCs from mouse and human endothelial cells and may be instructive for approaches to human tissue regeneration.
Keywords: EndoMT; development; endothelial; endothelial-mesenchymal transition; hematopoietic stem cell; mesenchymal; niche; regeneration; stroma; transdifferentiation.
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