Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Blood cells


Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) in the bone marrow are able to differentiate into all types of blood cells and supply the organism each day with billions of fresh cells. They are applied to cure hematological diseases such as leukemia. The clinical need for HSCs is high and there is a demand for being able to control and multiply HSCs in vitro. The hematopoietic system is highly proliferative and thus sensitive to anti-proliferative drugs such as chemotherapeutics. For many of these drugs suppression of the hematopoietic system is the dose-limiting toxicity. Therefore, biomimetic 3D models of the HSC niche that allow to control HSC behavior in vitro and to test drugs in a human setting are relevant for the clinics and pharmacology. Here, we describe a perfused 3D bone marrow analog that allows mimicking the HSC niche under steady-state and activated conditions that favor either HSC maintenance or differentiation, respectively, and allows for drug testing.

Concepts: DNA, Cell, Stem cell, Bone marrow, Cellular differentiation, Hematology, Hematopoietic stem cell, Blood cells


Thirdhand smoke (THS) is the fraction of cigarette smoke that persists in indoor environments after smoking. We investigated the effects of neonatal and adult THS exposure on bodyweight and blood cell populations in C57BL/6 J mice. At the end of neonatal exposure, THS-treated male and female mice had significantly lower bodyweight than their respective control mice. However, five weeks after neonatal exposure ended, THS-treated mice weighed the same as controls. In contrast, adult THS exposure did not change bodyweight of mice. On the other hand, both neonatal and adult THS exposure had profound effects on the hematopoietic system. Fourteen weeks after neonatal THS exposure ended, eosinophil number and platelet volume were significantly higher, while hematocrit, mean cell volume, and platelet counts were significantly lower compared to control. Similarly, adult THS exposure also decreased platelet counts and increased neutrophil counts. Moreover, both neonatal and adult THS exposure caused a significant increase in percentage of B-cells and significantly decreased percentage of myeloid cells. Our results demonstrate that neonatal THS exposure decreases bodyweight and that THS exposure induces persistent changes in the hematopoietic system independent of age at exposure. These results also suggest that THS exposure may have adverse effects on human health.

Concepts: Chemotherapy, Smoking, Tobacco smoking, Cigarette, Blood cells, Thrombocytopenia, Thymus, Mean corpuscular volume


Aging is linked to functional deterioration and hematological diseases. The hematopoietic system is maintained by hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), and dysfunction within the HSC compartment is thought to be a key mechanism underlying age-related hematopoietic perturbations. Using single-cell transplantation assays with five blood-lineage analysis, we previously identified myeloid-restricted repopulating progenitors (MyRPs) within the phenotypic HSC compartment in young mice. Here, we determined the age-related functional changes to the HSC compartment using over 400 single-cell transplantation assays. Notably, MyRP frequency increased dramatically with age, while multipotent HSCs expanded modestly within the bone marrow. We also identified a subset of functional cells that were myeloid restricted in primary recipients but displayed multipotent (five blood-lineage) output in secondary recipients. We have termed this cell type latent-HSCs, which appear exclusive to the aged HSC compartment. These results question the traditional dogma of HSC aging and our current approaches to assay and define HSCs.

Concepts: Gene, Cell division, Stem cell, Bone marrow, Stem cells, Hematology, Hematopoietic stem cell, Blood cells


Trauma is the leading cause of death and disability in patients aged 1-46 y. Severely injured patients experience considerable blood loss and hemorrhagic shock requiring treatment with massive transfusion of red blood cells (RBCs). Preclinical and retrospective human studies in trauma patients have suggested that poorer therapeutic efficacy, increased severity of organ injury, and increased bacterial infection are associated with transfusion of large volumes of stored RBCs, although the mechanisms are not fully understood.

Concepts: Hemoglobin, Cell nucleus, Blood, Cell membrane, Red blood cell, Blood cells, Physical trauma, Blood cell


A method that can rapidly quantify variations in the morphology of single red blood cells (RBCs) using light and sound is presented. When irradiated with a laser pulse, an RBC absorbs the optical energy and emits an ultrasonic pressure wave called a photoacoustic wave. The power spectrum of the resulting photoacoustic wave contains distinctive features that can be used to identify the RBC size and morphology. When particles 5-10 μm in diameter (such as RBCs) are probed with high-frequency photoacoustics, unique periodically varying minima and maxima occur throughout the photoacoustic signal power spectrum at frequencies >100 MHz. The location and distance between spectral minima scale with the size and morphology of the RBC; these shifts can be used to quantify small changes in the morphology of RBCs. Morphological deviations from the normal biconcave RBC shape are commonly associated with disease or infection. Using a single wide-bandwidth transducer sensitive to frequencies between 100 and 500 MHz, we were able to differentiate healthy RBCs from irregularly shaped RBCs (such as echinocytes, spherocytes, and swollen RBCs) with high confidence using a sample size of just 21 RBCs. As each measurement takes only seconds, these methods could eventually be translated to an automated device for rapid characterization of RBC morphology and deployed in a clinical setting to help diagnose RBC pathology.

Concepts: Cell nucleus, Blood, Red blood cell, Blood type, Bone marrow, Blood cells, Blood cell, Spherocytosis


With increasing worldwide demand for safe blood, there is much interest in generating red blood cells in vitro as an alternative clinical product. However, available methods for in vitro generation of red cells from adult and cord blood progenitors do not yet provide a sustainable supply, and current systems using pluripotent stem cells as progenitors do not generate viable red cells. We have taken an alternative approach, immortalizing early adult erythroblasts generating a stable line, which provides a continuous supply of red cells. The immortalized cells differentiate efficiently into mature, functional reticulocytes that can be isolated by filtration. Extensive characterization has not revealed any differences between these reticulocytes and in vitro-cultured adult reticulocytes functionally or at the molecular level, and importantly no aberrant protein expression. We demonstrate a feasible approach to the manufacture of red cells for clinical use from in vitro culture.

Concepts: Hemoglobin, Cell nucleus, Blood, Developmental biology, Red blood cell, Stem cell, Bone marrow, Blood cells


Nucleated red blood cells (NRBCs) and reticulocytes are early and important measures of red blood cells' (RBCs) turnover, but little is known on how spurious hemolysis may affect the reliability of these parameters.

Concepts: Hemoglobin, Cell nucleus, Blood, Red blood cell, Anemia, Hematology, Blood cells, Reticulocyte


Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is characterized by deregulated engulfment of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) by BM macrophages, which are activated presumably by systemic inflammatory hypercytokinemia. In the present study, we show that the pathogenesis of HLH involves impairment of the antiphagocytic system operated by an interaction between surface CD47 and signal regulatory protein α (SIRPA). In HLH patients, changes in expression levels and HLH-specific polymorphism of SIRPA were not found. In contrast, the expression of surface CD47 was down-regulated specifically in HSCs in association with exacerbation of HLH, but not in healthy subjects. The number of BM HSCs in HLH patients was reduced to approximately 20% of that of healthy controls and macrophages from normal donors aggressively engulfed HSCs purified from HLH patients, but not those from healthy controls in vitro. Furthermore, in response to inflammatory cytokines, normal HSCs, but not progenitors or mature blood cells, down-regulated CD47 sufficiently to be engulfed by macrophages. The expression of prophagocytic calreticulin was kept suppressed at the HSC stage in both HLH patients and healthy controls, even in the presence of inflammatory cytokines. These data suggest that the CD47-SIRPA antiphagocytic system plays a key role in the maintenance of HSCs and that its disruption by HSC-specific CD47 down-regulation might be critical for HLH development.

Concepts: Immune system, DNA, Gene expression, Cytokine, Hematopoietic stem cell, Blood cells, Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, Histiocytosis


Hematopoiesis is the process by which blood cells (hemocytes) mature and subsequently enter the circulation and we have developed a new technique to culture the hematopoietic progenitor cells in vitro. The reason for the successful culture was the isolation of a plasma protein that turned out to be a novel cytokine, astakine 1 (Ast1) containing a domain present in several vertebrates, so-called prokineticins. Now we have detected several astakines from other invertebrate species. Depending on our discovery of the cytokine Ast1 we have an opportunity to study in detail the differentiation of cells in the hematopoietic tissue of a crustacean, a tissue of evolutionary interest for studies of the connection between the vascular system and the nervous system. We have been able to isolate the entire hematopoietic tissue and for the first time detected a link between this tissue and the brain. We have further localized a proliferation center in the tissue and characterized its different parts. We have also used this system to isolate a new hematopoietic factor CHF that is important in the crossroad between apoptosis and hemocyte differentiation. Our technique for culture of crayfish hematopoietic stem cells provides a simple tool for studying the mechanism of hematopoiesis, but also enables detailed studies of immune defense reactions. Further, the culture system has been used for studies of viral defense and the system is suitable for gene silencing which allows functional characterization of different molecules involved in host defense as well as in hemocyte differentiation.

Concepts: Immune system, Blood, Developmental biology, Bone marrow, Stem cells, Cell biology, Hematopoietic stem cell, Blood cells


After introduction of a closed-system cell processor, the effect of this product change on safety, efficacy, and utilization of washed red blood cells (RBCs) was assessed.

Concepts: Cell nucleus, Blood, Cell membrane, Red blood cell, Blood type, Bone marrow, Blood cells, Blood cell