Stem cell quiescence/activation is reversible by serial transplantation and is independent of stromal cell genotype in mouse aggregation chimeras

G. Van Zant, K. Scott-Micus, B. P. Thompson, R. A. Fleischman, S. Perkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


We made use of a previously described in vivo model of chimeric mice created by embryo aggregation that allows the study of contributions to both lymphohematopoiesis and marrow stroma by two genotypically distinct cell populations. Day-2 embryos from C57BL/6 and DBA/2 strains were fused to produce allophenic chimeric mice that proved to have contributions from each strain in all the tissues of the body and that permitted study of competitive contributions to blood formation. Although the contribution of DBA/2 stem cells to hematopoiesis gradually ceased in an age-related manner so that all blood cells in aged chimeras were C57BL/6 in origin, here we show that, in contrast, the extent of stromal chimerism, determined by the fibroblast colony-forming unit (CFU-F) assay, was maintained and was remarkably uniform from one marrow site to another. This result is consistent with a polyclonal nonhematopoietic origin of the CFU-F and suggests that the decline in DBA/2 blood cells was not dependent on similar changes in genotype-matched stroma, but was instead an intrinsic property of this stem cell population. These intrinsic stem cell properties were further examined by serial bone marrow transplantation. When marrow from a chimera with no detectable DBA/2 blood cells was transplanted into irradiated recipients, cells of DBA/2 genotype significantly contributed to early hematopoietic engraftment, demonstrating that the DBA/2 stem cell population was not extinguished in the chimeric donor, but rather had entered a reversible state of quiescence. Reactivation of the DBA/2 stem cell population, however, was short-lived, and long-term engraftment of recipients was accomplished by donor cells of the partner strain (C57BL/6). However, transient reactivation of the quiescent (DBA/2) stem cell pool again occurred with a second round of transplantation. These surprising results demonstrate, for the first time, selective and reiterated inactivation and reactivation of a stem cell population depending on hematopoietic needs. Moreover, the results suggest that genetic differences in the stem cell populations of coexistent strains account for the selective responses described.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-475
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental Hematology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1992


  • aging
  • chimeric mice
  • microenvironment
  • reversible activation
  • stem cells
  • stroma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Hematology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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