Study sheds light on how the HSC niche is maintained

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

Researchers from Osaka University in Japan have identified an important cellular protein involved in the maintenance of bone marrow cavities and the hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) niche.

Credit: royaltystockphoto/

The HSC niche is the microscopic, specialized environment within the bone marrow and surrounding blood vessels. It houses and regulates HSCs to ensure their proper differentiation into various types of blood cell.

The exact mechanisms underlying the maintenance of this niche have not yet been fully elucidated, but a recent study published in Genes & Development has shed light on the process.

Lead author Masanari Seike says that several lines of evidence from previous research have pointed to chemokine ligand 12-abundant reticular (CAR) cells as playing a crucial role in the HSC niche: “We wanted to take a closer look at specific proteins expressed in these cells, to really pinpoint what the cells were doing in the niche.”

Seike and team found that a protein called Ebf3, which is involved in regulating gene expression, is highly abundant in CAR cells in mice.

When they removed the gene that produces this protein, they found that the number of HSCs in the bone marrow significantly decreased. They also observed some more surprising effects.

“What we didn’t expect was the impact the removal would have on the shape of the niche itself,” says Seike. The team found that bone density dramatically increased, essentially filling in the cavities that form niches. Without Ebf3, CAR cells seemed to adopt bone-synthesizing properties.

We believe that CAR cells need Ebf3 to create the physical and molecular environment that ultimately becomes the HSC niche.”

Masanari Seike, Lead Author

Lead investigator Takashi Nagasawa says the findings suggest that modulators of Ebf3 activity could be of substantial clinical value.

Ebf3 inhibitors may be able to increase bone mass in diseases such as osteoporosis, while Ebf3 activators may enable fine-tuning of the HSC niche to improve the effectiveness of regenerative therapies that allow patients to use their own stem cells.

“We hope this discovery opens up exciting new areas of exploration in both directions,” says Nagasawa.

Sally Robertson

Written by

Sally Robertson

Sally first developed an interest in medical communications when she took on the role of Journal Development Editor for BioMed Central (BMC), after having graduated with a degree in biomedical science from Greenwich University.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Robertson, Sally. (2019, June 20). Study sheds light on how the HSC niche is maintained. News-Medical. Retrieved on May 27, 2024 from

  • MLA

    Robertson, Sally. "Study sheds light on how the HSC niche is maintained". News-Medical. 27 May 2024. <>.

  • Chicago

    Robertson, Sally. "Study sheds light on how the HSC niche is maintained". News-Medical. (accessed May 27, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Robertson, Sally. 2019. Study sheds light on how the HSC niche is maintained. News-Medical, viewed 27 May 2024,


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
Scientists uncover protein folding secrets through sound