Innate immune cells as homeostatic regulators of the hematopoietic niche

Int J Hematol. 2014 Jun;99(6):685-94. doi: 10.1007/s12185-014-1561-7. Epub 2014 Mar 15.


Two cellular systems of paramount importance for mammalian physiology, the myeloid and the hematopoietic, have received a great deal of attention in the past decade. Myeloid leukocytes, classically involved in mediating innate immune responses, are now known to regulate other important aspects of the organism's physiology, from development to regulation of metabolic functions. In parallel, many diverse cellular and molecular components have been identified in the bone marrow (BM) that are required for the regulation and lifelong preservation of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPC). Since the production of blood and immune elements by these multipotent cells responds to environmental signals, it is not entirely surprising that the hematopoietic niches in which HSPC are located can in turn be regulated by the immune system. We review here recent evidence demonstrating that two components of the innate immune system, macrophages and neutrophils, regulate the function of the hematopoietic niche in ways that may favor both the retention and the release of HSPC from the BM. We propose that the highly migratory nature of neutrophils, the presence of a network of tissue-resident macrophages in the BM and possibly in other tissues, and the superb capacity of these innate immune cells to respond to stress endow them with regulatory functions that are ultimately relayed to the hematopoietic niche.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication
  • Hematopoiesis / physiology*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Homeostasis*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Neutrophils / immunology
  • Neutrophils / metabolism
  • Stem Cell Niche*