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Stem Cell Res Ther. 2011 Mar 14;2(2):13. doi: 10.1186/scrt54.

Mobilization of hematopoietic stem cells from the bone marrow niche to the blood compartment.

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Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Indiana University School of Medicine, 950 West Walnut Street, R2-302, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.


The vast majority of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) reside in specialized niches within the bone marrow during steady state, maintaining lifelong blood cell production. A small number of HSCs normally traffic throughout the body; however, exogenous stimuli can enhance their release from the niche and entry into the peripheral circulation. This process, termed mobilization, has become the primary means to acquire a stem cell graft for hematopoietic transplant at most transplant centers. Currently, the preferred method of HSC mobilization for subsequent transplantation is treatment of the donor with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor. The mobilizing effect of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor is not completely understood, but recent studies suggest that its capacity to mobilize HSCs, at least in part, is a consequence of alterations to the hematopoietic niche. The present article reviews some of the key mechanisms mediating HSC mobilization, highlighting recent advances and controversies in the field.

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