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Role of sphingosine 1-phosphate in trafficking and mobilization of hematopoietic stem cells

Bendall, Linda J.; Basnett, Jordan

Current Opinion in Hematology: July 2013 - Volume 20 - Issue 4 - p 281–288
doi: 10.1097/MOH.0b013e3283606090
HEMATOPOIESIS: Edited by Hal E. Broxmeyer

Purpose of review The ‘mobilization’ of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) out of the bone marrow and into the peripheral blood is used clinically to obtain HSCs for transplantation. Although generally successful, mobilization protocols remain imperfect and the mechanisms involved are not fully understood. This review discusses the latest findings in respect to the mechanisms involved in the egress of HSCs from the bone marrow into the circulation and the potential for these recent developments to improve mobilization procedures.

Recent findings It has recently become apparent that the bioactive lipid sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) plays an active role in attracting HSCs into the peripheral blood. S1P is the first factor identified that provides a chemoattractant gradient promoting the movement of HSCs into the peripheral blood. Drugs that mimic S1P are available with others in development, raising the possibility of increasing the strength of the egress signal and thereby improving the efficacy of mobilization procedures.

Summary S1P is the first egress factor described for HSCs, but the details of the underlying biology are only just emerging. Although manipulating the S1P axis to enhance mobilization protocols is an exciting possibility, much needs to be learned before improvements in mobilization strategies can be realized.

Westmead Institute for Cancer Research, Westmead Millennium Institute, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

Correspondence to Dr Linda Bendall, Westmead Institute for Cancer Research, Westmead Millennium Institute, Darcy Rd, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia. Tel: +61 2 9845 9069; e-mail:

© 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins