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Cell Stem Cell. 2012 Mar 2;10(3):273-83. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2012.02.007.

Hematopoietic stem cell subtypes expand differentially during development and display distinct lymphopoietic programs.

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  • 1Terry Fox Laboratory, BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver, BC V5Z 1L3, Canada.


Adult hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) with serially transplantable activity comprise two subtypes. One shows a balanced output of mature lymphoid and myeloid cells; the other appears selectively lymphoid deficient. We now show that both of these HSC subtypes are present in the fetal liver (at a 1:10 ratio) with the rarer, lymphoid-deficient HSCs immediately gaining an increased representation in the fetal bone marrow, suggesting that the marrow niche plays a key role in regulating their ensuing preferential amplification. Clonal analysis of HSC expansion posttransplant showed that both subtypes display an extensive but variable self-renewal activity with occasional interconversion. Clonal analysis of their differentiation programs demonstrated functional and molecular as well as quantitative HSC subtype-specific differences in the lymphoid progenitors they generate but an indistinguishable production of multipotent and myeloid-restricted progenitors. These findings establish a level of heterogeneity in HSC differentiation and expansion control that may have relevance to stem cell populations in other hierarchically organized tissues.

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