Humanized mice as a model to study human hematopoietic stem cell transplantation

Stem Cells Dev. 2014 Jan 1;23(1):76-82. doi: 10.1089/scd.2013.0265. Epub 2013 Sep 25.


Hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) transplantation has the potential to treat a variety of human diseases, including genetic deficiencies, immune disorders, and to restore immunity following cancer treatment. However, there are several obstacles that prevent effective HSC transplantation in humans. These include finding a matched donor, having a sufficient number of cells for the transplant, and the potency of the cells in the transplant. Ethical issues prevent effective research in humans that could provide insight into ways to overcome these obstacles. Highly immunodeficient mice can be transplanted with human HSCs and this process is accompanied by HSC homing to the murine bone marrow. This is followed by stem cell expansion, multilineage hematopoiesis, long-term engraftment, and functional human antibody and cellular immune responses. As such, humanized mice serve as a model for human HSC transplantation. A variety of conditions have been analyzed for their impact on HSC transplantation to produce humanized mice, including the type and source of cells used in the transplant, the number of cells transplanted, the expansion of cells with various protocols, and the route of introduction of cells into the mouse. In this review, we summarize what has been learned about HSC transplantation using humanized mice as a recipient model and we comment on how these models may be useful to future preclinical research to determine more effective ways to expand HSCs and to determine their repopulating potential in vivo.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology
  • Cell- and Tissue-Based Therapy / methods*
  • Graft Survival
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, SCID
  • Models, Animal