Naturally-occurring regeneration of cells and tissues is generally involved in four working mechanisms such as directed differentiation, dedifferentiation, trans-differentiation and transdetermination. The better exploring of these mechanisms could be beneficial to develop clinical strategies for regenerative medicine and to reduce the likelihood of immune rejection and relevant complications Recently, “trans-determination” has attracted great controversy, mostly in regards to whether adult stem cells can colonize other tissues after transplantation. More importantly, how to generate large amounts of a particular stem cell type through a transdetermination process remained to be unsolved. Similarly, it is unclear whether mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can transdeterminate into hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs).


Many technologies were used to validate the transdetermination of adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (AD-MSCs) into hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) from different aspects. They include FACS analysis, PCR tests, immunostaining, expansion and repopulating assays, transplantation analysis and others, showing their in vivo and in vitro potentials for long-term self-renewal and differentiation into multi-lineages of blood cells. Moreover, these AD-HSCs can reconstitute hematopoietic function in six patients.


We report firstly here that a huge number of human AD-MSCs that are CD44+,CD29+, CD105+, CD166+,CD133-,CD34- could rapidly transdifferentiate into hematopoietic stem cells (CD49f+/CD133+/CD34+) and their descending blood cells in vitro, after transfected with two small RNAs. The sRNAs were high-effectively delivered into MSCs by a novel peptide means. These adipose-derived HSCs (AD-HSCs) could form different types of hematopoietic colonies as nature-occurring HSCs did. Upon the primary and secondary transplantation into sublethally or lethally irradiated mice, these MSC-HSCs engrafted and differentiated into all hematopoietic lineages such as erythrocytes, lymphocytes, myelocytes and thrombocytes. Furthermore, we demonstrated the first evidence that the transdetermination of MSCs was induced by acetylation of histone proteins and activation of many transcriptional factors. More excitingly, these MSC-derived HSCs can reconstitute hematopoietic function in six patients with severe aplastic anemia.


our findings identify the molecular mechanisms that regulate the directed transdifferentiation of MSCs toward HSCs, create a new source for individual HSC transplantation used for the treatment of blood diseases and cancers, and break the stalemate caused by bone marrow match and graft-versus-host disease.


No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.