Concurrent Vasculogenesis and Neurogenesis From Adult Neural Stem Cells
Rationale: Recent reports have demonstrated that signals from vascular endothelial cells are necessary for organogenesis that may precede vasculogenesis. However, the origin of these neovascular cells in regenerating tissue has not been clarified.
Objective: Here we tested the hypothesis that adult neural stem cells (NSCs) can differentiate into vascular lineage, as well as neural lineage, in the process of collaborative organogenesis.
Methods and Results: NSCs, clonally isolated from mouse brain, were shown to develop endothelial and smooth muscle phenotypes in vitro. To elucidate whether NSCs can simultaneously differentiate into vascular and neural cells in vivo, genetically labeled NSCs were administered to mice with unilateral sciatic nerve crush injury or operatively induced brain and myocardial ischemia. Two weeks later, necropsy examination disclosed recruitment of the labeled NSCs to sites of injury differentiating into vascular cells (endothelial cells and vascular smooth muscle cells) and Schwann cells in regenerating nerve. Similarly, NSC-derived vascular cells/astrocytes and endothelial cells were identified in ischemic brain tissue and capillaries in myocardium 2 weeks following transplantation, respectively.
Conclusions: These findings, concurrent vasculogenesis and neurogenesis from a common stem cell, suggest that certain somatic stem cells are capable of differentiating into not only somatic cells of identity but also into vascular cells for tissue regeneration.