Studies of bone marrow transplant patients have suggested that the stromal cells of the in vitro hematopoietic microenvironment are transplantable into conditioned recipients. Moreover, in patients with myeloproliferative disorders, all of the stromal cells, which include presumptive endothelial cells, appear to be derived from hematopoietic precursors. To confirm these findings, we have constructed two chimeric mouse models: (a) traditional radiation chimeras, and (b) fetal chimeras, produced by placental injection of bone marrow into genetically anemic Wx/Wv fetuses, a technique that essentially precludes engraftment of nonhematopoietic cells. Using two-color indirect immunofluorescence, the stromal cells in long-term bone marrow culture derived from these chimeras were analyzed for donor or host origin by strain-specific H-2 antigens, and for cell lineage by a variety of other specific markers. 75-95% of the stromal cells were shown to be hematopoietic cells of the monocyte-macrophage lineage, based upon donor origin, phagocytosis, and expression of specific hematopoietic surface antigens. The remaining 5-25% of the stromal cells were exclusively host in origin. Apart from occasional fat cells, these cells uniformly expressed collagen type IV, laminin, and a surface antigen associated with endothelial cells. Since these endothelial-like cells are not transplantable into radiation or fetal chimeras, they are not derived from hematopoietic stem cells. The contrast between our findings and human studies suggests either unexpected species differences in the origin of stromal lineages or limitations in the previous methodology used to detect nonhematopoietic stromal cells.
S Perkins, R A Fleischman