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U-M scientists discover identifying markers for primitive blood-forming stem cells

resent on either HSCs or progenitor cells.

"Each marker is expressed at a different stage of the hematopoiesis hierarchy," Morrison says. "Selecting for cells with the combination of CD150+, CD48- and CD244- markers produced a sample that was highly enriched for HSCs. These cells were extremely rare ?fewer than one out of 10,000 whole bone marrow cells had this combination of surface markers."

In the Cell paper, U-M scientists describe how the new markers helped them see hematopoietic stem cells in stained tissue sections from mouse bone marrow and spleen, something that was not possible with existing markers. Knowing where primitive hematopoietic stem cells hang out in blood-forming organs will give scientists important clues to how they work, according to Morrison. For this reason, the identification of markers that allow the localization of HSCs in tissues has been a long-sought goal in the field of hematopoiesis.

"Until this study, we didn't know exactly where to look for HSCs within bone marrow and the spleen," Morrison explains. "Most scientists believed they stayed in close contact with cells called osteoblasts, which line the inside of hollow cavities in bone that contain bone marrow. Using SLAM markers, we discovered hematopoietic stem cells also congregate in the sinusoidal endothelium ?porous cells lining the inside of blood vessels that carry oxygen throughout bone marrow and the spleen.

"The presence of HSCs in sinusoidal endothelium could explain how stem cells are able to enter the bloodstream so quickly," Morrison adds. "It also suggests that endothelial cells produce substances that regulate and nurture the growth of these stem cells. If we can identify these growth factors, it could help us learn how to manipulate and grow colonies of HSCs outside the body, which could lead to new medical treatments for sickle cell anemia, leukemia and other types of cancer."

As with most discoveries in stem cell science, U-M
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Source:University of Michigan Health System


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