Identification of a clonally expanding haematopoietic compartment in bone marrow

L. Wang, R. Benedito, M.G. Bixel, D. Zeuschner, M. Stehling, L. Savendahl, J.J. Haigh, H. Snippert, H. Clevers, G. Breier, F. Kiefer, R.H. Adams

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review


In mammals, postnatal haematopoiesis occurs in the bone marrow (BM) and involves specialized microenvironments controlling haematopoietic stem cell (HSC) behaviour and, in particular, stem cell dormancy and self-renewal. While these processes have been linked to a number of different stromal cell types and signalling pathways, it is currently unclear whether BM has a homogenous architecture devoid of structural and functional partitions. Here, we show with genetic labelling techniques, high-resolution imaging and functional experiments in mice that the periphery of the adult BM cavity harbours previously unrecognized compartments with distinct properties. These units, which we have termed hemospheres, were composed of endothelial, haematopoietic and mesenchymal cells, were enriched in CD150+ CD48- putative HSCs, and enabled rapid haematopoietic cell proliferation and clonal expansion. Inducible gene targeting of the receptor tyrosine kinase VEGFR2 in endothelial cells disrupted hemospheres and, concomitantly, reduced the number of CD150+ CD48- cells. Our results identify a previously unrecognized, vessel-associated BM compartment with a specific localization and properties distinct from the marrow cavity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-230
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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