The traditional view of hematopoiesis has been that all the cells of the peripheral blood are the progeny of a unitary homogeneous pool of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Recent evidence suggests that the hematopoietic system is actually maintained by a consortium of HSC subtypes with distinct functional characteristics. We show here that myeloid-biased HSCs (My-HSCs) and lymphoid-biased HSCs (Ly-HSCs) can be purified according to their capacity for Hoechst dye efflux in combination with canonical HSC markers. These phenotypes are stable under natural (aging) or artificial (serial transplantation) stress and are exacerbated in the presence of competing HSCs. My- and Ly-HSCs respond differently to TGF-beta1, presenting a possible mechanism for differential regulation of HSC subtype activation. This study demonstrates definitive isolation of lineage-biased HSC subtypes and contributes to the fundamental change in view that the hematopoietic system is maintained by a continuum of HSC subtypes, rather than a functionally uniform pool.
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