Scientists have identified a bone marrow backup system

ScienceDaily | 1/15/2019 | Staff
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The finding provides evidence that hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) consist of different functional populations of cells, including "primed" cells, which are ready at a moment's notice to be activated to produce red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, and "reserve" cells, which come into play when there has been damage to the first-line stem cells.

"Under severe stress -- radiation or chemotherapy that injures blood cells, including primed hematopoietic stem cells -- that's when reserve cells kick in," says Linheng Li, Ph.D., an Investigator at the Stowers Institute and senior author of the study.

Reserve - HSCs - Key - Blood - Cells

Reserve HSCs could hold the key to understanding how blood cells repopulate after severe injury depletes the bone marrow that produces blood cells. This concept may provide an insight for understanding treatment-resistant leukemia cells. The study appears online January 15, 2019, in the journal Cell Reports.

Every second, two million new blood cells are churned out by the amazing, regenerative HSCs that reside in the core of most bones. Only a fraction of these cells actively move through the cell cycle at any given time; the rest lie in an inactive or quiescent state, which was once believed to protect them from harm. However, several studies have shown that the majority of these quiescent HSCs are sensitive to DNA damage from chemotherapy.

Decade - Li - Population - HSCs - Bone

Over a decade ago, Li suggested that a special population of HSCs that are resistant to damage might still reside in the bone marrow, hidden in some unexplored niche. In this study, Meng Zhao, Ph.D. (now a faculty member at Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, China), Fang Tao, Ph.D., Zhenrui Li, Ph.D. (now a fellow at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital), Aparna Venkatraman, Ph.D., and Xi C. He, M.D., undertook a series of experiments using a mouse model to prove that these cells exist.

A key experiment utilized...
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