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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2010 Mar;1192:12-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.05223.x.

The HSC niche concept has turned 31. Has our knowledge matured?

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Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


The hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) niche is currently defined as the specific microenvironment in the bone marrow (BM) which anatomically harbors HSCs and governs their fate. It plays a pivotal role in regulating the survival and self-renewal ability of HSCs, protecting them from exhaustion while preventing their excessive proliferation. Many different stromal cell types have been proposed as putative constituents of the niche, but their integrated function is still unrevealed. Mechanisms by which stem/progenitor cell behavior is regulated in the niche include cell-to-cell interaction and the production of growth factors, cytokines, and extracellular matrix proteins. The HSC niche is a dynamic entity reflecting and responding to the needs of the organism. An understanding of how the niche participates in the maintenance of tissue homeostasis and repair offers new opportunities for the development of novel therapeutic tools.

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