Daily Onset of Light and Darkness Differentially Controls Hematopoietic Stem Cell Differentiation and Maintenance

Cell Stem Cell. 2018 Oct 4;23(4):572-585.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2018.08.002. Epub 2018 Aug 30.


Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) tightly couple maintenance of the bone marrow (BM) reservoir, including undifferentiated long-term repopulating hematopoietic stem cells (LT-HSCs), with intensive daily production of mature leukocytes and blood replenishment. We found two daily peaks of BM HSPC activity that are initiated by onset of light and darkness providing this coupling. Both peaks follow transient elevation of BM norepinephrine and TNF secretion, which temporarily increase HSPC reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels. Light-induced norepinephrine and TNF secretion augments HSPC differentiation and increases vascular permeability to replenish the blood. In contrast, darkness-induced TNF increases melatonin secretion to drive renewal of HSPCs and LT-HSC potential through modulating surface CD150 and c-Kit expression, increasing COX-2/αSMA+ macrophages, diminishing vascular permeability, and reducing HSPC ROS levels. These findings reveal that light- and darkness-induced daily bursts of norepinephrine, TNF, and melatonin within the BM are essential for synchronized mature blood cell production and HSPC pool repopulation.

Keywords: TNF; bone marrow; differentiation and egress; hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells; light and darkness; maintenance and retention; melatonin; norepinephrine; stem cell repopulation potential; vascular permeability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / radiation effects*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Darkness*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / genetics
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / radiation effects*
  • Light*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Transcription Factors