Development Genes and Evolution

, Volume 223, Issue 1–2, pp 103–115 | Cite as

Hematopoiesis and hematopoietic organs in arthropods

Review

Abstract

Hemocytes (blood cells) are motile cells that move throughout the extracellular space and that exist in all clades of the animal kingdom. Hemocytes play an important role in shaping the extracellular environment and in the immune response. Developmentally, hemocytes are closely related to the epithelial cells lining the vascular system (endothelia) and the body cavity (mesothelia). In vertebrates and insects, common progenitors, called hemangioblasts, give rise to the endothelia and blood cells. In the adult animal, many differentiated hemocytes seem to retain the ability to proliferate; however, in most cases investigated closely, the bulk of hemocyte proliferation takes place in specialized hematopoietic organs. Hematopoietic organs provide an environment where undifferentiated blood stem cells are able to self-renew, and at the same time generate offspring that differentiate into different blood cell types. Hematopoiesis in vertebrates, taking place in the bone marrow, has been subject to intensive research by immunologists and stem cell biologists. Much less is known about blood cell formation in invertebrate animals. In this review, we will survey structural and functional properties of invertebrate hematopoietic organs, with a main focus on insects and other arthropod taxa. We will then discuss similarities, at the molecular and structural level, that are apparent when comparing the development of blood cells in hematopoietic organs of vertebrates and arthropods. Our comparative review is intended to elucidate aspects of the biology of blood stem cells that are more easily missed when focusing on one or a few model species.

Keywords

Blood Hematopoiesis Stem cell Invertebrate Arthropod 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Part of this work was funded by HFSP Grant RGP0015/2008-C to V.H. and the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award GM007185 to M.G.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Molecular Cell and Developmental BiologyUniversity of California Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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