Bone marrow of normal adult mice was found, after transplacental inoculation, to contain cells still able to seed the livers of early fetuses. The recipients' own hematopoietic stem cells, with a W-mutant defect, were at a selective disadvantage. Progression of donor strain cells to the bone marrow, long-term self-renewal, and differentiation into myeloid and lymphoid derivatives was consistent with the engraftment of totipotent hematopoietic stem cells (THSC) comparable to precursors previously identified (4) in normal fetal liver. More limited stem cells, specific for the myeloid or lymphoid cell lineages, were not detected in adult bone marrow. The bone marrow THSC, however, had a generally lower capacity for self-renewal than did fetal liver THSC. They had also embarked upon irreversible changes in gene expression, including partial histocompatibility restriction. While completely allogeneic fetal liver THSC were readily accepted by fetuses, H-2 incompatibility only occasionally resulted in engraftment of adult bone marrow cells and, in these cases, was often associated with sudden death at 3-5 mo. On the other hand, H-2 compatibility, even with histocompatibility differences at other loci, was sufficient to ensure long-term success as often as with fetal liver THSC.

This content is only available as a PDF.