Hematopoietic and endothelial cell lineages are the first to mature from mesoderm in the developing embryo. However, little is known about the molecular and (or) cellular events leading to hematopoietic commitment. The recent applications of technology utilizing gene targeted mice and the employment of many available in vitro systems have facilitated our understanding of hematopoietic establishment in the developing embryo. It is becoming clear that embryonic hematopoiesis occurs both in the extra- embryonic yolk sac and within the embryo proper in the mouse. The existence of the long pursued hemangioblast, a common progenitor of hematopoietic and endothelial cells, is now formally demonstrated. Based on this new information, many studies are being conducted to understand hematopoietic commitment events from mesoderm. In this review, we will first discuss the establishment of the hematopoietic system with special emphasis on the most primitive hematopoietic committed cells, the hemangioblast. We will then discuss mesoderm-inducing factors and their possible role in hematopoietic lineage commitment.
- Hematopoietic commitment
- In vitro embryonic stem cell differentiation