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The embryonic aorta-gonad-mesonephros region as a generator of haematopoietic stem cells

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Pietilä I, Vainio S. The embryonic aorta-gonad-mesonephros region as a generator of haematopoietic stem cells. APMIS 2005;113:804–12.

During mammalian embryonic development the definitive haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) may arise either in the extra-embryonic mesoderm or in the aorta-gonad-mesonephros (AGM) region that forms in close proximity to the assembling urogenital system, generating the gonad, cortex of the adrenal gland and metanephros. Researchers have been attempting for a long time to define the region of importance for generating the definitive HSCs that colonize the fetal liver and bone marrow, the two major sites where haematopoiesis takes place in the adult. The fetal liver might gain HSCs from both of the primary haematopoietic sources, but the extra-embryonic HSCs seem not to be able to colonize adult bone marrow directly. It is known that the microenvironment around the HSCs is important for directing cell fates, but we do not yet have much idea about the cell-cell interactions, tissue interactions and molecules that regulate cell behaviour in the AGM. We will here discuss the contribution of the AGM to definitive haematopoiesis in mammals and review some of the cell-cell interactions and associated signalling systems involved in the development of AGM stem cells.
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Keywords: Haematopoietic stem cells; Sonic hedgehog; Wnt signalling; mesenchymal stem cells; primordial germ cells; yolk sac stem cells

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Medical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Biocenter Oulu, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland

Publication date: 2005-11-01

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