The changing face of haematopoiesis: A spectrum of options is available to stem cells

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  • University of Basel


For more than 30 years, the scheme whereby bone marrow hematopoietic stem cells give rise to the many different types of blood and immune cells has been represented as a lineage tree diagram. In this model, hematopoietic stem cells follow a preferred route to each of the end‐cell types and gradually restrict their other lineage options via a series of intermediate oligo‐potent progenitors. Recent findings of lineage biases or affiliations within hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells that are either pluripotent or uni‐potent show that a continuum of fate options is open to hematopoietic stem cells. These results support the view that in order to close down developmental options, hematopoietic stem cells can make an immediate lineage choice rather than become gradually committed as they progress step‐wise through a series of intermediate progenitors. In this scenario, there is inherent versatility in that developing cells are still able to move sideways to adopt an alternative lineage fate. Here, we examine the information that is leading toward this very different viewpoint of blood cell development.


Original languageEnglish
JournalImmunology and Cell Biology
Early online date10 Apr 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Apr 2018