Fetal liver hematopoietic stem cell niches associate with portal vessels

Jalal A. Khan, Avital Mendelson, Yuya Kunisaki, Alexander Birbrair, Yan Kou, Anna Arnal-Estapé, Sandra Pinho, Paul Ciero, Fumio Nakahara, Avi Ma'ayan, Aviv Bergman, Miriam Merad, Paul S. Frenette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

157 Scopus citations


Whereas the cellular basis of the hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) niche in the bone marrow has been characterized, the nature of the fetal liver niche is not yet elucidated. We show that Nestin+NG2+ pericytes associate with portal vessels, forming a niche promoting HSC expansion. Nestin+NG2+ cells and HSCs scale during development with the fractal branching patterns of portal vessels, tributaries of the umbilical vein. After closure of the umbilical inlet at birth, portal vessels undergo a transition from Neuropilin-1+Ephrin-B2+ artery to EphB4+ vein phenotype, associated with a loss of periportal Nestin+NG2+ cells and emigration of HSCs away from portal vessels. These data support a model in which HSCs are titrated against a periportal vascular niche with a fractal-like organization enabled by placental circulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-180
Number of pages5
Issue number6269
StatePublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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