Journal of Molecular Medicine

, Volume 95, Issue 8, pp 809–819 | Cite as

Blood on the tracks: hematopoietic stem cell-endothelial cell interactions in homing and engraftment

  • Julie R. Perlin
  • Audrey Sporrij
  • Leonard I. ZonEmail author


Cells of the hematopoietic system undergo rapid turnover. Each day, humans require the production of about one hundred billion new blood cells for proper function. Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are rare cells that reside in specialized niches and are required throughout life to produce specific progenitor cells that will replenish all blood lineages. There is, however, an incomplete understanding of the molecular and physical properties that regulate HSC migration, homing, engraftment, and maintenance in the niche. Endothelial cells (ECs) are intimately associated with HSCs throughout the life of the stem cell, from the specialized endothelial cells that give rise to HSCs, to the perivascular niche endothelial cells that regulate HSC homeostasis. Recent studies have dissected the unique molecular and physical properties of the endothelial cells in the HSC vascular niche and their role in HSC biology, which may be manipulated to enhance hematopoietic stem cell transplantation therapies.


Hematopoietic stem cell Endothelial cell Stem cell niche Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation Homing Engraftment 



This work was supported by NIH grants R01HL04880, P01HL032262, P30DK049216, R01DK53298, U01HL10001, and R24DK092760. In addition, L.I.Z. is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, J.R.P. is an American Cancer Society postdoctoral fellow, and A.S. is supported by a Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds PhD fellowship. We also thank Anne L. Robertson and Elliott J. Hagedorn for helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie R. Perlin
    • 1
    • 2
  • Audrey Sporrij
    • 1
    • 2
  • Leonard I. Zon
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Stem Cell Program and Division of Hematology/Oncology, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Howard Hughes Medical InstituteHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology and Harvard Stem Cell InstituteHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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