Deciphering hematopoietic stem cells in their niches: a critical appraisal of genetic models, lineage tracing, and imaging strategies

Cell Stem Cell. 2013 Nov 7;13(5):520-33. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2013.10.010.


In recent years, technical developments in mouse genetics and imaging equipment have substantially advanced our understanding of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and their niche. The availability of numerous Cre strains for targeting HSCs and microenvironmental cells provides extensive flexibility in experimental design, but it can also pose significant challenges due to strain-specific differences in cell specificity. Here we outline various genetic approaches for isolating, detecting, and ablating HSCs and niche components and provide a guide for advantages and caveats to consider. We also discuss opportunities and limitations presented by imaging technologies that allow investigation of HSC behavior in situ.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Lineage
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Genetic
  • Stem Cell Niche / physiology*