Homing and long-term engraftment of long- and short-term renewal hematopoietic stem cells

PLoS One. 2012;7(2):e31300. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031300. Epub 2012 Feb 9.


Long-term hematopoietic stem cells (LT-HSC) and short-term hematopoietic stem cells (ST-HSC) have been characterized as having markedly different in vivo repopulation, but similar in vitro growth in liquid culture. These differences could be due to differences in marrow homing. We evaluated this by comparing results when purified ST-HSC and LT-HSC were administered to irradiated mice by three different routes: intravenous, intraperitoneal, and directly into the femur. Purified stem cells derived from B6.SJL mice were competed with marrow cells from C57BL/6J mice into lethally irradiated C57BL/6J mice. Serial transplants into secondary recipients were also carried out. We found no advantage for ST-HSC engraftment when the cells were administered intraperitoneally or directly into femur. However, to our surprise, we found that the purified ST-HSC were not short-term in nature but rather gave long-term multilineage engraftment out to 387 days, albeit at a lower level than the LT-HSC. The ST-HSC also gave secondary engraftment. These observations challenge current models of the stem cell hierarchy and suggest that stem cells are in a continuum of change.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Femur
  • Graft Survival*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Mice
  • Time Factors