Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Celebrating Stem Cells – IV Bone Home

Newly discovered stem cell source in bone marrow vessels

19 December 2019

Bone Home

Tiny nurturing 'niches' in our bone marrow play home to haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) – cells with the power to transform into blood cells, keeping our blood supply fresh and healthy. Many HSCs first appear before birth – maturing from endothelial cells lining the walls of our early blood vessels before moving to their cosy niches in the bone marrow. Yet in this slice through a chicken’s bone marrow (with its cells highlighted in blue), we see a surprising twist – new HSCs (red) produced from the vessels (green) of the bone marrow itself. This previously unknown 'wave' of stem-cell production may help to prepare bone marrow for welcoming HSCs migrating there from elsewhere in the body. Understanding these ‘new’ steps in growing and nurturing human HSCs may lead to more effective treatments for diseases like leukaemia that affect our precious blood stem cells.

Written by John Ankers

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