Issue 11, 2014

Biophysical regulation of hematopoietic stem cells


Blood is renewed throughout the entire life. The stem cells of the blood, called hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), are responsible for maintaining a supply of all types of fresh blood cells. In contrast to other stem cells, the clinical application of these cells is well established and HSC transplantation is an established life-saving therapy for patients suffering from haematological disorders. Despite their efficient functionality throughout life in vivo, controlling HSC behaviour in vitro (including their proliferation and differentiation) is still a major task that has not been resolved with standard cell culture systems. Targeted HSC multiplication in vitro could be beneficial for many patients, because HSC supply is limited. The biology of these cells and their natural microenvironment – their niche – remain a matter of ongoing research. In recent years, evidence has come to light that HSCs are susceptible to physical stimuli. This makes the regulation of HSCs by engineering physical parameters a promising approach for the targeted manipulation of these cells for clinical applications. Nevertheless, the biophysical regulation of these cells is still poorly understood. This review sheds light on the role of biophysical parameters in HSC biology and outlines which knowledge on biophysical regulation identified in other cell types could be applied to HSCs.

Graphical abstract: Biophysical regulation of hematopoietic stem cells

Associated articles

Article information

Article type
Review Article
16 Apr 2014
07 Jul 2014
First published
17 Jul 2014
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Biomater. Sci., 2014,2, 1548-1561

Biophysical regulation of hematopoietic stem cells

C. Lee-Thedieck and J. P. Spatz, Biomater. Sci., 2014, 2, 1548 DOI: 10.1039/C4BM00128A

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. You can use material from this article in other publications without requesting further permissions from the RSC, provided that the correct acknowledgement is given.

Read more about how to correctly acknowledge RSC content.

Social activity