Extraembryonic Origin of Circulating Endothelial Cells
Pardanaud L, Eichmann A (2011)
PLoS ONE 6(10): e25889. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0025889
Circulating endothelial cells (CEC) are contained in the bone marrow and peripheral blood of adult humans and participate to the revascularization of ischemic tissues. These cells represent attractive targets for cell or gene therapy aimed at improving ischemic revascularization or inhibition of tumor angiogenesis. The embryonic origin of CEC has not been addressed previously. Here we use quail-chick chimeras to study CEC origin and participation to the developing vasculature. CEC are traced with different markers, in particular the QH1 antibody recognizing only quail endothelial cells. Using yolk-sac chimeras, where quail embryos are grafted onto chick yolk sacs and vice-versa, we show that CEC are generated in the yolk sac. These cells are mobilized during wound healing, demonstrating their participation to angiogenic repair processes. Furthermore, we found that the allantois is also able to give rise to CEC in situ. In contrast to the yolk sac and allantois, the embryo proper does not produce CEC. Our results show that CEC exclusively originate from extra-embryonic territories made with splanchnopleural mesoderm and endoderm, while definitive hematopoietic stem cells and endothelial cells are of intra-embryonic origin.