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Molecule Identified That Is Involved In The Regulation Of The Human Stem Cell Pool

  February, 9 2001 18:18
your information resource in human molecular genetics
Stimulatory sonic hedgehog

The cellular elements of blood, such as B cells or macrophages, are generated in the bone marrow. Stem cells, under the influence of various immune modulators, can develop into all the types of required blood cells and therefore function as the building blocks of the bone marrow. A pool of blood stem cells must be maintained in the bone marrow throughout life. Factors that regulate the maintenance of human stem cells are unknown.

In the February issue of Nature Immunology (Vol. 2, No. 2, 01 Feb 2001), scientists have identified a molecule that is involved in the regulation of the human stem cell pool. This molecule, called sonic hedgehog, was found to induce expansion of stem cell numbers. Currently, the number of therapeutic bone marrow transplants that are carried out for the treatment of cancers is increasing rapidly. Thus, the identification of factors such as sonic hedgehog, which can amplify the number of repopulating stem cells, could be important clinically, particularly in view of the shortage of bone marrow donors.

A News & Views was written on this paper by Leonard I. Zon of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Boston, MA.

Mickie Bhatia
John P. Robarts Research Institute
100 Perth Drive
P.O. Box 5015
London, ON N6A 5K8
Tel: +1 519-663-5777
Fax: +1 519-663-3789

Leonard I. Zon
Children's Hospital Medical Center
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
320 Longwood Avenue, Enders 761
Boston, MA 02115
Tel: +1 617-355-7707
Fax: +1 617-355-7262

(C) Nature Immunology press release.

Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza

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