Hematopoietic Stem Cells

  • Patricia Ernst


Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) represent one of the first amenable experimental models that enhanced our understanding of stem cell behavior. Features of the hematopoietic system facilitating the early development of this experimental model include the fact that the hematopoietic system is a naturally regenerative organ comprising cells that are migratory in nature. The fact that a few or even single cells could be demonstrated to regenerate the entire hematopoietic system in an irradiated recipient made it possible to perform retrospective identification of the engrafting cell and the fate of its progeny. In addition, clinical interests such as gene therapy and regenerative medicine have driven research to understand the pathways that maintain and modify stem cell behavior in vitro and in vivo. This chapter reviews a selection of cell surface receptors, intracellular signaling molecules, regulators of cell death and proliferation, and transcriptional regulators that are known to play an important role in maintaining HSCs in the adult. A large number of mouse knockout studies have been performed that provide a framework of pathways that are essential for the maintenance of steady-state hematopoiesis and for maintenance in conditions in which the hematopoietic system must regenerate. To understand how manipulating these pathways affects stem cell function, the phenotypic and functional characterization of murine and human HSCs has been refined over time to include different mouse strains and conditions, including specific knockout animals. In turn, the analysis of loss- and gain-of-function models has enriched our understanding of the stability of HSC identity.


Hematopoietic Stem Cell Hematopoietic System Cell Stem Cell Human Hematopoietic Stem Cell Signaling Lymphocytic Activation Molecule 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Genetics Norris Cotton Cancer CenterDartmouth Medical School 725 RemsenUSA

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