• endosteal cells;
  • stem cells;
  • cytokines;
  • progenitor cell homing;
  • self renewal

In order to determine the relationship between bone marrow (bm) endosteal cells (EDC) and hemopoietic progenitors, we have analyzed the immunophenotype of EDC using various antibodies (Ab) against mesenchymal antigens. The Ab were applied on paraffin sections of normal bm (iliac crest, n=17; talus, n=1; phalanx, n=1), myeloregenerative bm (after chemotherapy), and hematologic disorders (acute myeloid leukemia (AML), n=8; chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), n=6; myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), n=14; severe aplastic anemia (SAA), n=4; essential thrombocythemia (ET), n=2; idiopathic (primary) osteomyelo-fibrosis (IMF), n=1; polycythemia vera (PV), n=1). In normal bm, EDC were found to react with Ab against vimentin, tenascin, α-smooth muscle actin, osteocalcin, CD51, and CD56, but did not react with Ab against CD3, CD15, CD20, CD34, CD45, CD68, or CD117. An identical phenotype of EDC was found in AML, MDS, SAA, ET, IMF, PV, myeloregenerative bm, and peripheral bones lacking active hemopoiesis (talus, phalanx). In patients with CML, EDC reacted with Ab to CD51, but did not react with Ab to CD56. Based on their unique antigen profile, EDC were enriched from normal bm by enzyme digestion and cell sorting. However, these enriched cells (CD56+, CD45, CD34) did not give rise to hemopoietic cells under the culture conditions used, i.e. in the presence of the growth factors IGF-1, bFGF, SCF, IL-3, and GM-CSF. Together, our data do not support the hypothesis that EDC are totipotent mesenchymal progenitors giving rise to hemopoietic cells.