Stem cell niches are specialized microenvironments that promote the maintenance of stem cells and regulate their function. Recent advances have improved our understanding of the niches that maintain adult haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). These advances include new markers for HSCs and niche cells, systematic analyses of the expression patterns of niche factors, genetic tools for functionally identifying niche cells in vivo, and improved imaging techniques. Together, they have shown that HSC niches are perivascular in the bone marrow and spleen. Endothelial cells and mesenchymal stromal cells secrete factors that promote HSC maintenance in these niches, but other cell types also directly or indirectly regulate HSC niches.
ASJC Scopus subject areas