The stem cell niche

M. R. Walker, K. K. Patel, T. S. Stappenbeck

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

177 Scopus citations


Virtually every tissue of the adult organism maintains a population of putatively slowly-cycling stem cells that maintain homeostasis of the tissue and respond to injury when challenged. These cells are regulated and supported by the surrounding microenvironment, referred to as the stem cell 'niche'. The niche includes all cellular and non-cellular components that interact in order to control the adult stem cell, and these interactions can often be broken down into one of two major mechanistic categories - physical contact and diffusible factors. The niche has been studied directly and indirectly in a number of adult stem cell systems. Herein, we will first focus on the most well-understood niches supporting the germline stem cells in the lower organisms Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster before concentrating on the more complex, less well-understood mammalian niches supporting the neural, epidermal, haematopoietic and intestinal stem cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-180
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2009


  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Intestine
  • Microenvironment
  • Niche
  • Stem cell


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