The mechanism of hemopoietic stem cell homing to the bone marrow involves molecular interactions that mediate the recognition and interaction of these cells with the marrow microenvironment, including the extracellular matrix. On selective binding, this environment, in combination with soluble cytokines, regulates stem cell proliferation and differentiation. Using immunofluorescence labeling, we analyzed the location of the prominent extracellular matrix proteins fibronectin, collagen Types I, III, and IV, and laminin in sections of murine femoral bone marrow. Collagen Types I, IV, and fibronectin were localized to the endosteum, the region of the femoral microenvironment for which homing stem cells have a high affinity. The results further demonstrated a strong spatial association of collagen Type IV and laminin with the bone marrow vessels, including arterioles, veins, and sinuses. Fibronectin was distributed throughout the central marrow region, and all the proteins analyzed except collagen Type III were present in the bone, although at different levels. Fibronectin, collagen Types III and IV, and laminin were also present in the periosteum. The distinct locations of particular extracellular matrix proteins support the notion that they may play an important mechanistic role in the homing of engrafting cells.
- Extracellular matrix proteins
- In situ
- Paraffin sections
- Paraformaldehyde perfusion