, Volume 331, Issue 1, pp 125-134
Date: 09 Sep 2007

Identification of very small embryonic like (VSEL) stem cells in bone marrow

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Bone marrow (BM) develops in mammals by the end of the second/beginning of the third trimester of gestation and becomes a major hematopoietic organ in postnatal life. The α-chemokine stromal derived factor-1 (SDF-1) to CXCR4 (\( G_{{\alpha i}} \)-protein-coupled seven transmembrane-spanning chemokine receptor) axis plays a major role in BM colonization by stem cells. By the end of the second trimester of gestation, BM becomes colonized by hematopoietic stem cells (HSC), which are chemoattracted from the fetal liver in a CXCR4-SDF-1-dependent manner. Whereas CXCR4 is expressed on HSC, SDF-1 is secreted by BM stroma and osteoblasts that line BM cavities. Mounting evidence indicates that BM also contains rare CXCR4+ pluripotent stem cells (PSC). Recently, our group has identified a population of CXCR4+ very small embryonic like stem cells in murine BM and human cord blood. We hypothesize that these cells are deposited during development in BM as a mobile pool of circulating PSC that play a pivotal role in postnatal tissue turnover, both of non-hematopoietic and hematopoietic tissues.