Unappreciated dynamism of blood cell production

Feb 07, 2011

The bone marrow stem cells responsible for generating new blood cells are less fixed and more flexible than previously thought, according to a paper published online on February 7 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Some earlier studies suggested that these hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) come in two distinct varieties: those that remain dormant during times of health but possess the ability to regenerate the whole blood system after trauma such as irradiation or , and those that divide frequently and contribute to new blood production during times of health but lack the capability of restoring the whole blood system after trauma.

Using a new technique to label and track mouse HSCs, Markus Manz and colleagues find that at any given time, cells harboring the capacity to restore a wiped-out blood system can actually be found in both rapidly dividing and dormant HSC populations. In fact, with age, HSCs tend to shift status from rapidly dividing to dormant. Yet upon encounter with life-threatening , dormant HSCs quickly awake, divide and replicate themselves.

These findings suggest that the burden of blood cell production may be more equally shared than previously realized among all HSCs. Whether human HSCs exhibit similar on-demand adaptability remains to be determined.

Explore further: Three-people IVF debate process on the move in UK

More information: Takizawa, H., et al. 2011. J. Exp. Med. doi:10.1084/jem.20101643

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Tackling blood stem cell heterogeneity

Apr 26, 2010

Distinct populations of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) that preferentially generate specific types of blood cells can be identified based on abundance of a single surface protein, according to a study published online on ...

Protein key to control, growth of blood cells

Aug 13, 2008

New research sheds light on the biological events by which stem cells in the bone marrow develop into the broad variety of cells that circulate in the blood. The findings may help improve the success of bone marrow transplants ...

Researchers Unlock Molecular Origin of Blood Stem Cells

Jan 09, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A research team led by Nancy Speck, PhD, Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, has identified the location and developmental timeline ...

Recommended for you

Three-people IVF debate process on the move in UK

28 minutes ago

Takes two to make a child, correct? No. maybe. The use of sperm and eggs from three people to create babies moved a step closer in the UK, with Tuesday's events. What kind of egg-sperm distribution are we talking about? The ...

User comments : 0