Bone marrow niches for hematopoietic progenitor cells are not well defined despite their critical role in blood homeostasis. We previously found that cells expressing osteocalcin, a marker of mature osteolineage cells, regulate the production of thymic-seeding T lymphoid progenitors. Here, using a selective cell deletion strategy, we demonstrate that a subset of mesenchymal cells expressing osterix, a marker of bone precursors in the adult, serve to regulate the maturation of early B lymphoid precursors by promoting pro-B to pre-B cell transition through insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) production. Loss of Osx(+) cells or Osx-specific deletion of IGF-1 led to a failure of B cell maturation and the impaired adaptive immune response. These data highlight the notion that bone marrow is a composite of specialized niches formed by pairings of specific mesenchymal cells with parenchymal stem or lineage committed progenitor cells, thereby providing distinctive functional units to regulate hematopoiesis.
Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier Inc.