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Bone, microenvironment and hematopoiesis

Shen, Yia; Nilsson, Susan K.a,b

Current Opinion in Hematology: July 2012 - Volume 19 - Issue 4 - p 250–255
doi: 10.1097/MOH.0b013e328353c714
HEMATOPOIESIS: Edited by Hal E. Broxmeyer

Purpose of review Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) mature to form all blood cells and the study into how HSC fate decisions are made has exploded in recent years. In an effort to fully understand the function and organization of HSCs and hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs), many groups have identified the microenvironment in which they reside as playing a key role. This review highlights the findings within the last 18 months on the cells and molecules shown to be important within the bone marrow HSC niche for HSC regulation.

Recent findings Previous research has heavily concentrated on the role of osteoblasts, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), reticular stromal cells, endothelial cells and nerve cells. More recently, research has not only expanded on the role of these cells, but has also shown that mature hematopoietic cells such as macrophages and megakaryocytes are also important in the maintenance of hematopoiesis within the HSC niche.

Summary Identifying and understanding the roles of all cells comprising the HSC niche coupled with the development of better 3D imaging and 3D in-vitro mimicking of the HSC niche will increase our understanding of where HSCs reside and how they are regulated. Research will lead to better manipulation of HSCs for mobilization, homing and hematopoietic reconstitution following injury or disease.

aMaterials Science and Engineering, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Melbourne, Australia

bDepartment of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

Correspondence to Susan Nilsson, Stem Cell Laboratories, CMSE, CSIRO, Bag 10, Clayton South MDC, Victoria, 3169, Australia. E-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.