A common precursor for hematopoietic and endothelial cells

Development. 1998 Feb;125(4):725-32. doi: 10.1242/dev.125.4.725.


Embryonic stem cell-derived embryoid bodies contain a unique precursor population which, in response to vascular endothelial growth factor, gives rise to blast colonies in semi-solid medium. Upon transfer to liquid culture with appropriate cytokines, these blast colonies generate both hematopoietic and adherent, stromal-type cells. Cells within the adherent population display characteristics of endothelial lineage including the expression of CD31, flk-1, flt-1, tie-2, the capacity to take up acetylated LDL and the presence of cytoplasmic Weibel-Palade bodies. Mixing studies demonstrated that the hematopoietic and endothelial precursors within the blast colonies develop from the same cell, the blast colony-forming cell. Kinetic analysis showed that the blast colony-forming cell represents a transient cell population that develops early and is lost quickly during embryoid body development. These findings provide strong evidence that the blast colony-forming cell represents the long-hypothesized hemangioblast, the common precursor of the hematopoietic and endothelial lineages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Colony-Forming Units Assay
  • DNA Primers / genetics
  • Endothelial Growth Factors / pharmacology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genetic Markers
  • Hematopoiesis / genetics
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Lymphokines / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics
  • Receptors, Growth Factor / genetics
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors


  • DNA Primers
  • Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Genetic Markers
  • Lymphokines
  • Receptors, Growth Factor
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor