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Mesenchymal stem cells in infantile haemangioma
  1. Tinte Itinteang1,2,3,
  2. Anasuya Vishvanath1,2,
  3. Darren J Day1,2,3,
  4. Swee T Tan1,2,3,4
  1. 1School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
  2. 2Centre for the Study & Treatment of Vascular Birthmarks, Wellington Regional Plastic, Maxillofacial & Burns Unit, Hutt Hospital, Wellington, New Zealand
  3. 3Gillies McIndoe Research Institute, New Zealand
  4. 4University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to Professor Swee T Tan, Wellington Regional Plastic, Maxillofacial & Burns Unit, Hutt Hospital, High Street, Private Bag 31-907, Lower Hutt, New Zealand; swee.tan{at}


Background Fibro-fatty deposition commonly occurs during involution of infantile haemangioma (IH). Mesenchymal stem cells have been identified in this tumour and have been proposed to be recruited from the bone marrow and/or adjacent niches, and then give rise to the fibro-fatty tissue. The authors have recently demonstrated that the capillary endothelium of proliferating IH co-expresses primitive mesodermal, mesenchymal and neural crest markers and proposed that this same endothelium has the ability to give rise to cells of mesenchymal lineage that constitute the fibro-fatty deposition.

Methods Immunohistochemistry and real-time RT-PCR were used to further characterise proliferating IHs and haemangioma explant-derived cells (HaemEDCs).

Results The authors have further confirmed expression of the mesenchymal-associated proteins including preadipocyte factor-1, a mesenchymal differentiation inhibition-associated cytokine. The HaemEDCs could be differentiated into osteoblasts and adipocytes, indicating their functional potential for terminal differentiation.

Discussion The collective expression of neural crest, mesenchymal and mesenchymal differentiation inhibition-associated proteins on the endothelium of proliferating IH suggests that the cells in the capillary endothelium within the lesion possess the ability to undergo terminal mesenchymal differentiation during the proliferating phase, but are inhibited from doing so.

  • Infantile
  • haemangioma
  • mesenchymal stem cells
  • adipocyte
  • osteoblast
  • angiogenesis
  • preadipocyte factor-1
  • angiogenesis
  • biological sciences
  • cell biology
  • endothelium
  • tumour angiogenesis

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  • TI and AV are equal first authors.

  • DJD and STT are equal senior authors.

  • Part of this work was presented at: the Annual Scientific Meeting, Auckland, New Zealand, 21 November 2008; the 15th International Society for the Study of Vascular Anomalies Workshop, Boston, USA, 20–24 June 2008; and the 16th International Society for the Study of Vascular Anomalies Workshop, Brussels, Belgium, 19–21 April 2010.

  • Funding This work is supported by grants from the Wellington Regional Plastic Surgery Unit Research & Education Trust, the Wellington Medical Research Foundation, the Surgical Research Trust, Pub Charities and the Cancer Society of New Zealand. AV was supported, in part, by the Cancer Society of New Zealand. TI was supported by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons' Foundation for Surgery Scholarship.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Wellington Regional Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.