A critical role for the endothelium of yolk sac and dorsal aorta has been shown in embryonic hematopoiesis. A stromal cell line derived from yolk sac, YSCL-72, has been chosen to search for a novel molecule associated with embryonic hematopoiesis. Analysis between YSCL-72 and an adult aorta-derived endothelial cell line, EOMA, demonstrated that activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule (ALCAM, or CD166) was specifically expressed in YSCL-72 but not in EOMA. Immunohistochemical study showed that ALCAM was expressed in the endothelium of yolk sac and dorsal aorta but not in adult aorta. ALCAM-transfected EOMA cells supported development of hematopoietic progenitor cells compared with vector-transfected EOMA cells, suggesting that ALCAM appeared to be crucial for hematopoiesis. In addition, ALCAM was found to be involved in capillary tube formation and hemangioblast differentiation. Taken together with these findings, ALCAM is highly associated not only with embryonic hematopoiesis but also vasculoangiogenesis.
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