Hematopoietic cells emerge from hemogenic endothelium in the developing embryo. Mechanisms behind human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell development remain unclear. Using a human pluripotent stem cell differentiation model, we report that cyclic AMP (cAMP) induction dramatically increases HSC-like cell frequencies. We show that hematopoietic cell generation requires cAMP signaling through the Exchange proteins activated by cAMP (cAMP-Epac) axis; Epac signaling inhibition decreased both hemogenic and non-hemogenic endothelium, and abrogated hematopoietic cell generation. Furthermore, in hematopoietic progenitor and stem-like cells, cAMP induction mitigated oxidative stress, created a redox-state balance, and enhanced C-X-C chemokine receptor type 4 (CXCR4) expression, benefiting the maintenance of these primitive cells. Collectively, our study provides insights and mechanistic details on the previously unrecognized role of cAMP signaling in regulating human hematopoietic development. These findings advance the mechanistic understanding of hematopoietic development toward the development of transplantable human hematopoietic cells for therapeutic needs.
cAMP signaling in the generation of hematopoietic stem cells
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