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Blood. 2011 May 19;117(20):5281-8. doi: 10.1182/blood-2011-01-315069. Epub 2011 Mar 15.

Bone and the hematopoietic niche: a tale of two stem cells.

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Department of Molecular Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.


The revived interest in (hematopoietic) stem cell (HSC) niches has highlighted the role of multiple cellular players found in the bone environment. Initially focused on the role of osteoblasts and sinusoid endothelial cells, the quest for HSC niche cells has recently focused on a unique role for osteoprogenitor cells (skeletal stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells). Strongly validated by observations of HSC dysregulation dictated by the dysregulation of osteoprogenitors, the role of osteoprogenitors in the HSC niche integrates data from different studies into a unified view. As preosteoblastic, periendothelial cells residing at the sinusoid wall, skeletal progenitors reconcile the notions of "osteoblastic" and "sinusoidal" niches with one another. In addition, they bring into focus the cross-regulation of skeletal and hematopoietic physiology as rooted into the interplay of two stem cells (hematopoietic and skeletal) sharing a single niche. As direct regulators of hematopoietic space formation, sinusoid development, and hematopoietic function(s), as well as direct progenitors of positive and negative regulators of HSCs such as osteoblasts and adipocytes, skeletal progenitors have emerged as pivotal organizers of a complex, highly plastic niche. This development seems to represents an evolutionary advance over the deterministic stem cell niches found in archetypal invertebrate systems.

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