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Blood. 2012 May 31;119(22):5144-54. doi: 10.1182/blood-2011-07-368506. Epub 2012 Apr 12.

Connexin-43 in the osteogenic BM niche regulates its cellular composition and the bidirectional traffic of hematopoietic stem cells and progenitors.

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Division of Experimental Hematology and Cancer Biology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH 45267-0055, USA.


Connexin-43 (Cx43), a gap junction protein involved in control of cell proliferation, differentiation and migration, has been suggested to have a role in hematopoiesis. Cx43 is highly expressed in osteoblasts and osteogenic progenitors (OB/P). To elucidate the biologic function of Cx43 in the hematopoietic microenvironment (HM) and its influence in hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) activity, we studied the hematopoietic function in an in vivo model of constitutive deficiency of Cx43 in OB/P. The deficiency of Cx43 in OB/P cells does not impair the steady state hematopoiesis, but disrupts the directional trafficking of HSC/progenitors (Ps) between the bone marrow (BM) and peripheral blood (PB). OB/P Cx43 is a crucial positive regulator of transstromal migration and homing of both HSCs and progenitors in an irradiated microenvironment. However, OB/P Cx43 deficiency in nonmyeloablated animals does not result in a homing defect but induces increased endosteal lodging and decreased mobilization of HSC/Ps associated with proliferation and expansion of Cxcl12-secreting mesenchymal/osteolineage cells in the BM HM in vivo. Cx43 controls the cellular content of the BM osteogenic microenvironment and is required for homing of HSC/Ps in myeloablated animals.

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