Concealed inside our bones, bone marrow contains stem cells responsible for the renewal of many tissues, from bone and cartilage to blood. In a process known as haematopoiesis, specialised haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) continuously generate new blood cells of different types, while also renewing themselves to maintain the HSC stock. Regulating this balancing act requires input from other bone marrow cells, the stromal cells, including two types the SECs and the CARcs. Sophisticated imaging techniques are now allowing researchers to see deep inside bone marrow, helping them to understand how these different cells associate. These 3D microscopy images show a section of mouse bone marrow, with molecular markers of SECs in red and yellow, a protein CXCL12 produced by CARcs in green, collagen fibres in white and cell nuclei in blue. More abundant than previously thought, SECs and CARcs form complex networks to support and communicate with HSCs.
Written by Emmanuelle Briolat
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