The chorio-allantoic placenta forms through the fusion of the allantois (progenitor tissue of the umbilical cord), with the chorionic plate. The murine placenta contains high levels of hematopoietic stem cells, and is therefore a stem cell niche. However, it is not known whether the placenta is a site of hematopoietic cell emergence, or whether hematopoietic cells originate from other sites in the conceptus and then colonize the placenta. Here, we show that the allantois and chorion, isolated prior to the establishment of circulation, have the potential to give rise to myeloid and definitive erythroid cells following explant culture. We further show that the hematopoietic potential of the allantois and chorion does not require their union, indicating that it is an intrinsic property of these tissues. These results suggest that the placenta is not only a niche for, but also a source of, hematopoietic cells.
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