Transplantable stem cells: Home to specific niches

Susan K. Nilsson, Paul J. Simmons

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose of review: Although the concept of engraftment and clinical reconstitution of the bone marrow was described several decades ago, the analysis of individual steps within this process remains a major focus of much current research in stem cell biology. In particular, this extends to the identification and characterization of the specific stem cell niche first proposed by Schofield in 1978. It is appropriate, therefore, that on the 25th anniversary of this publication, that we review recent progress in our understanding of the location and composition of the bone marrow stem cell niche and of the mechanisms involved in the initial phases of hematopoietic stem cell engraftment. Recent findings: During the past 12 months there have been significant advancements in our understanding of the interplay of molecules involved in the homing of hematopoietic stem cells to the bone marrow. In addition, innovative methodologies have become available for the visualization of hematopoietic stem cells within the bone marrow in situ. In an important development in this area, studies our now focusing on events after transendothelial migration into the marrow cords, including mechanisms involved in hematopoietic stem cell migration to and lodgment within the hematopoietic stem cell niche. Furthermore, there have been numerous new reports analyzing the molecular regulation of hematopoietic stem cells within the bone marrow niche in situ. Summary: Overall, recent advancements in our understanding of hematopoietic stem cell biology and, in particular, the interaction of hematopoietic stem cells with the hematopoietic microenvironment paves the way for expanded use in regenerative medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-106
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Hematology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Engraftment
  • Hematopoietic stem cell niche
  • Hematopoietic stem cells
  • Homing
  • Lodgment

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