Ex vivo expansion of hematopoietic stem cells

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Ex vivo expansion of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) would benefit clinical applications in several aspects, to improve patient survival, utilize cord blood stem cells for adult applications, and selectively propagate stem cell populations after genetic manipulation. In this review we summarize and discuss recent advances in the culture systems of mouse and human HSCs, which include stroma/HSC co-culture, continuous perfusion and fed-batch cultures, and those supplemented with extrinsic ligands, membrane transportable transcription factors, complement components, protein modification enzymes, metabolites, or small molecule chemicals. Some of the expansion systems have been tested in clinical trials. The optimal condition for ex vivo expansion of the primitive and functional human HSCs is still under development. An improved understanding of the mechanisms for HSC cell fate determination and the HSC culture characteristics will guide development of new strategies to overcome difficulties. In the future, development of a combination treatment regimen with agents that enhance self-renewal, block differentiation, and improve homing will be critical. Methods to enhance yields and lower cost during collection and processing should be employed. The employment of an efficient system for ex vivo expansion of HSCs will facilitate the further development of novel strategies for cell and gene therapies including genome editing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)839-853
Number of pages15
JournalScience China Life Sciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • CRISPR/Cas9
  • SCID-repopulating cell
  • cord blood
  • ex vivo expansion
  • genome editing
  • hematopoietic stem cells
  • niche
  • signal transduction
  • transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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