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WIREs Dev Biol
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Hemangioblast: an in vitro phantom

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Abstract The hemangioblast, a bipotent progenitor that generates both endothelial cells (EC) and blood cells (BC) in the blood islands (BI) of the yolk sac (YS) has been a core notion of developmental hematology since the early 20th century. However, its actual presence has not been directly addressed for long. At the very end of the 20th century, the hemangioblast was revisited as a result of the development of new technologies that enable detection of such bipotent precursors in vitro. Such studies provided evidence for the presence of bipotent precursors for EC and BC. On the other hand, subsequent studies analyzing the processes occurring within BI strongly argued against the notion of hemanigioblasts and suggest that the hemangioblast is an in vitro artefact. In this article, I overview the history of the study of the hemangioblast and try to explain why hemangioblast that can be defined in vitro cannot be detected in BI. WIREs Dev Biol 2012, 1:603–608. doi: 10.1002/wdev.38 This article is categorized under: Gene Expression and Transcriptional Hierarchies > Cellular Differentiation Nervous System Development > Vertebrates: Regional Development Adult Stem Cells, Tissue Renewal, and Regeneration > Tissue Stem Cells and Niches

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Views proposed in early days for the process of BC and EC differentiation. (a) In this figure, His recognized the close association between EC and BC and proposed that they are generated from the same precursors in the BI (Reprinted with permission from Ref 1. Copyright 1900 BG Tuebner Verlag). (b) Here, she distinguishes the hemangioblast and hemogenic endothelial cells (Reprinted with permission from Ref 2. Copyright 1920 Carnegie Institution of Washington) (c) Murray used the term hemangioblast for the first time. The process where the common precursor diverges to EC in the outermost area and BC in the inner region is clearly illustrated. (Reprinted with permission from Ref 3. Copyright 1932 The Royal Society)

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Hierarchy of expression of KDR, RUNX1, and GATA1 in extraembryonic mesoderm. Expression of KDR is shown by immunostaining using an anti‐KDR mAb. RUNX1 and GATA1 expression was visualized using a LacZ reporter introduced into the RUNX1 or the GATA1 allele. On the left; the area expressing each molecule is indicated by a column. KDR+ cells spread over all extraembryonic mesoderm, whereas RUNX1 is expressed only in the YS region and GATA1 expression is restricted to a more narrow region in the YS.

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Adult Stem Cells, Tissue Renewal, and Regeneration > Tissue Stem Cells and Niches
Gene Expression and Transcriptional Hierarchies > Cellular Differentiation
Nervous System Development > Vertebrates: Regional Development