Bone marrow stem cell niche discovered
Dec 7, 2008 - 5:36:10 PM

Researchers have identified the precise location of the bone marrow stem cell niche.

Linheng Li Lab of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research collaborated with several other facilities to develop a new technology - ex vivo - imaging of stem cells, or EVISC - to monitor the dynamic behaviour of stem cells.

This technology enabled the team to track the homing of haematopoietic stem cells -, which give rise to all blood cell types, after being transplanted in mice. The findings build on the Linheng Li Lab's 2003 discovery of the HSC niche.

A better understanding of the HSC niche may lead to more effective bone marrow transplants since a more precise understanding of the micro-environment that nurtures these therapeutically valuable cells will give physicians greater control over the entire process.

'Using the EVISC technology, we were able to confirm our 2003 findings that HSCs tend to home in to the inner bone surface,' said Yucai Xie, a pre-doctoral researcher and co-author of the paper, according to Stowers Institute release.

'Additionally, we were able to resolve a debate in the field about whether the bone-forming niche or the blood-vessel-forming niche actually nurtures HSCs, he added.

The findings came out Friday in the advance online publication of Nature.

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