Hepatic thrombopoietin is required for bone marrow hematopoietic stem cell maintenance

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Hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) maintenance depends on extrinsic cues. Currently, only local signals arising from the bone marrow niche have been shown to maintain HSCs. However, it is not known whether systemic factors also sustain HSCs. We assessed the physiological source of thrombopoietin (TPO), a key cytokine required for maintaining HSCs. Using TpoDsRed-CreER knock-in mice, we showed that TPO is expressed by hepatocytes but not by bone marrow cells. Deletion of Tpo from hematopoietic cells, osteoblasts, or bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells does not affect HSC number or function. However, when Tpo is deleted from hepatocytes, bone marrow HSCs are depleted. Thus, a cross-organ factor, circulating TPO made in the liver by hepatocytes, is required for bone marrow HSC maintenance. Our results demonstrate that systemic factors, in addition to the local niche, are a critical extrinsic component for HSC maintenance.

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