Regulation of hematopoiesis by microvascular endothelium

Leuk Lymphoma. 1997 Nov;27(5-6):375-86. doi: 10.3109/10428199709058305.


The bone marrow microenvironment is a complex three dimensional structure where hematopoietic stem cells proliferate, mature, migrate into the sinusoidal space, and enter the circulation in an exquisitely regulated fashion. Stromal cells within the BM microenvironment provide a suitable environment for self-renewal, proliferation and differentiation of hematopoietic stem cells. Within the hematopoietic microenvironment, whether it is embryonic yolk sac, fetal liver, or adult bone marrow, microvascular endothelium not only acts as a gatekeeper controlling the trafficking and homing of hematopoietic progenitors, but also provides cellular contact and secretes cytokines that allows for the preservation of the steady state hematopoiesis. Recently, homogenous monolayers of bone marrow endothelial cells (BMEC) have been isolated and cultivated in tissue culture. Long-term coculture studies have shown that BMEC monolayers are unique type of endothelium and can support long-term proliferation of hematopoietic progenitor cells particularly megakaryocytic and myeloid progenitor cells by constitutive elaboration of lineage-specific cytokines such as G-CSF, GM-CSF, M-CSF, Kit-ligand, IL6, FLK-2 ligand, and leukemia inhibitory factor. Direct cellular contact between hematopoietic progenitor cells and BMEC monolayers through specific adhesion molecules including beta1, beta2 integrins and selectins play a critical role in trafficking and possibly proliferation of hematopoietic stem cells. Dysfunction of microvascular endothelial cells within the hematopoietic microenvironment may result in stem cell disorders and progression to aplastic anemias, and contribute to graft failure during bone marrow transplantation. Further studies on the role of microvascular endothelium in the regulation of hematopoietic stem cell homing and proliferation may enhance our understanding of the pathophysiology of stem cell and leukemic disorders.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, CD34 / metabolism
  • Blood Platelets / physiology
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology
  • Bone Marrow Cells / physiology
  • Cell Communication
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Division
  • Cytokines / physiology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiology*
  • Hematopoiesis*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / physiology
  • Humans
  • Leukemia / physiopathology
  • Megakaryocytes / physiology
  • Microcirculation


  • Antigens, CD34
  • Cytokines