A type of specialised stem cell known to grow into blood cells now discovered to also be capable of making blood vessels
This is a close-up image of a slice of liver tissue from a mouse, showing regular liver cells (white blobs) nestled among red- and green-stained blood vessels made of endothelial cells. Although they may look similar, there’s an important difference between these two types of vessels. The green tubes grew from conventional stem cells that were already known to give rise to blood vessels. But the red ones have grown from an entirely new source: erythromyeloid progenitors (EMPs), which are specialised stem cells found in the blood. It was already known that EMPs could grow into blood cells, but finding out that they can also grow into new blood vessels is a big surprise. We don’t yet know whether EMPs also exist in humans, but their discovery could have huge potential for the development of new therapies to repair or replace damaged vessels in people with heart and cardiovascular diseases.
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