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Nat Rev Immunol. 2011 Sep 9;11(10):685-92. doi: 10.1038/nri3062.

Inflammatory modulation of HSCs: viewing the HSC as a foundation for the immune response.

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Section of Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Alkek N 1030, One Baylor Plaza, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


Cells of the innate and adaptive immune systems are the progeny of a variety of haematopoietic precursors, the most primitive of which is the haematopoietic stem cell. Haematopoietic stem cells have been thought of generally as dormant cells that are only called upon to divide under extreme conditions, such as bone marrow ablation through radiation or chemotherapy. However, recent studies suggest that haematopoietic stem cells respond directly and immediately to infections and inflammatory signals. In this Review, we summarize the current literature regarding the effects of infection on haematopoietic stem cell function and how these effects may have a pivotal role in directing the immune response from the bone marrow.

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