Unappreciated dynamism of blood cell production

February 7, 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.

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

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Engineered protein treatment found to reduce obesity in mice, rats and primates

October 19, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers with pharmaceutical company Amgen Inc. report that an engineered version of a protein naturally found in the body caused test mice, rats and cynomolgus monkeys to lose weight. In their ...

New procedure enables cultivation of human brain sections in the petri dish

October 19, 2017
Researchers at the University of Tübingen have become the first to keep human brain tissue alive outside the body for several weeks. The researchers, headed by Dr. Niklas Schwarz, Dr. Henner Koch and Dr. Thomas Wuttke at ...

Cancer drug found to offer promising results in treating sepsis in test mice

October 19, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A combined team of researchers from China and the U.S. has found that a drug commonly used to treat lung cancer in humans offers a degree of protection against sepsis in test mice. In their paper published ...

Tracing cell death pathway points to drug targets for brain damage, kidney injury, asthma

October 19, 2017
University of Pittsburgh scientists are unlocking the complexities of a recently discovered cell death process that plays a key role in health and disease, and new findings link their discovery to asthma, kidney injury and ...

Study reveals key molecular link in major cell growth pathway

October 19, 2017
A team of scientists led by Whitehead Institute has uncovered a surprising molecular link that connects how cells regulate growth with how they sense and make available the nutrients required for growth. Their work, which ...

Inflammation trains the skin to heal faster

October 18, 2017
Scars may fade, but the skin remembers. New research from The Rockefeller University reveals that wounds or other harmful, inflammation-provoking experiences impart long-lasting memories to stem cells residing in the skin, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.