Progenitor cells, not stem cells, responsible for daily blood supply

Currently, text books say the life-long supply of the billions of blood cells in our veins is driven by a small pool of multipotent blood stem cells. Much of the evidence to support this comes from studies of what happens following a bone marrow transplant. However, a new study by researchers developing a stem cell barcoding tool suggests this is the exception.

Writing about their work in Nature, the Harvard scientists describe how, using a new tool that generates a unique barcode of cellular DNA, they identified differences in origin between individual blood cells in mice to “reveal unprecedented features” of how blood cells are formed.

They conclude that it is not blood stem cells but a large number of long-lived descendants of stem cells called progenitor cells that are responsible for the normal daily supply of blood cells during most of adulthood.

Stem cells do not drive the production of the daily supply but likely act as reserves, they suggest.


The finding suggests that progenitor cells could potentially be just as valuable as blood stem cells for treatments that regenerate blood cells.

Read full, original article: Barcoding tool for stem cells questions origin of blood cells

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