In bone marrow, hematopoiesis is thought to depend on special microenvironments known as niches that maintain blood cells. However, the identity of niches and interaction of blood cells with niches remain poorly understood. Here we identify stage-specific cellular niches for B lymphopoiesis. The earliest precursors, pre-pro-B cells and end-stage B cells, plasma cells require CXC chemokine ligand (CXCL)12. CXCL12-expressing cells are a small population of stromal cells, scattered throughout bone marrow and located some distance from the cells expressing interleukin (IL)-7. Multipotent hematopoietic progenitors are attached to the processes of CXCL12-expressing cells and pre-pro-B cells adjoin their cell bodies. Maturer pro-B cells that require IL-7 have moved away and adjoin the IL-7-expressing cells. Plasma cells again seed CXCL12-expressing cells. We demonstrate the B lymphocyte characteristic location and movement between specific niches within bone marrow during development and suggest that CXCL12 maintains the cells in the niche.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)707-718
Number of pages12
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2004


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