Blood Journal
Leading the way in experimental and clinical research in hematology

The repopulation potential of fetal liver hematopoietic stem cells in mice exceeds that of their liver adult bone marrow counterparts

  1. VI Rebel,
  2. CL Miller,
  3. CJ Eaves, and
  4. PM Lansdorp
  1. Terry Fox Laboratory, B.C. Cancer Agency, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


Varying, limiting numbers of unseparated or purified cells (Ly-5.1), either from 14.5-day-old fetal liver (FL) or from adult bone marrow (BM) were coinjected with 10(5) unseparated BM cells (Ly-5.2) into lethally irradiated adult C57B1/6 recipients (Ly-5.2). The kinetics of donor cell repopulation of the lymphoid and myeloid compartments by Ly- 5.1+ donor hematopoietic stem cells (ie, competitive repopulation units [CRU]) were monitored at various time points after the transplantation by Ly-5 analysis of the peripheral white blood cells (WBC). Recipients that had received on average less than 2 adult BM or FL CRU did not show a significant difference in the level of donor-reconstitution when analyzed 4 weeks after the transplantation, However, at 8 and 16 weeks, the FL recipients showed a significantly higher percentage of donor- derived nucleated peripheral blood cells than did the recipients of adult BM cells. Analysis of individual mice showed that approximately 80% of the recipients of FL CRU showed an increase in mature WBC output between 4 and 8 weeks after transplantation, whereas this occurred in less than 40% in the recipients of adult BM cells. In addition to this effect on mature cell output, the cellularity of the reconstituted BM was significantly higher in recipients of FL CRU than in recipients of adult BM CRU, even at 7 to 9 months after transplantation, which is consistent with an increased clonal expansion of FL CRU. When marrow cells from primary recipients of FL CRU were injected into secondary recipients, a significantly higher percentage of these mice showed donor-reconstitution of their lymphoid and myeloid compartments (P < .01) and to a greater extent (P < .008) as compared with mice that had received marrow cells from primary recipients of similar numbers of adult BM CRU. Taken together, these results show that individual FL CRU exhibit a greater proliferative activity in vivo than similar cells from adult BM that is accompanied by a greater production of daughter CRU.