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September 6, 2010

Investigators Figure Out How Hematopoietic Stem Cells Survive in Hypoxic Conditions

  • Researchers have identified that hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) utilize glycolysis instead of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation to meet their energy demands. This allows them to survive in low-oxygen microenvironments, a property that makes bone marrow transplantation so efficient.

    UT Southwestern Medical Center scientists report their findings in Cell Stem Cell in a paper titled “The Distinct Metabolic Profile of Hematopoietic Stem Cells Reflects Their Location in a Hypoxic Niche.”

    The team used flow cytometry to identify a low mitochondrial activity/glycolysis-dependent subpopulation that houses the majority of hematopoietic progenitors and long-term HSCs (LT-HSCs). They demonstrated that Meis1 and Hif-1α are markedly enriched in LT-HSCs and that Meis1 regulates HSC metabolism through transcriptional activation of Hif-1α.

    The investigators believe that the findings reveal an important transcriptional network that regulates HSC metabolism.


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