Uncertainty in the niches that maintain haematopoietic stem cells

Nat Rev Immunol. 2008 Apr;8(4):290-301. doi: 10.1038/nri2279. Epub 2008 Mar 7.


Haematopoietic stem cell (HSC) niches are specialized microenvironments that contain stem cells and regulate their maintenance. Cells at the interface of bone and the bone marrow (the endosteum) contribute to the creation of HSC niches. It remains uncertain whether this interface itself is a niche, or whether endosteal cells secrete factors that diffuse to nearby niches. Vascular and/or perivascular cells may also create niches as many HSCs are observed around sinusoidal blood vessels, and perivascular cells secrete factors that regulate HSC maintenance. Do endosteal and perivascular cells create distinct niches, or do they contribute to a common niche? We discuss a range of niche models consistent with recent evidence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Vessels / cytology
  • Bone Marrow / anatomy & histology
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology*
  • Bone and Bones / cytology
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Hematopoiesis*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Humans
  • Osteoblasts / cytology
  • Osteoclasts / cytology
  • Spleen / cytology