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Stem Cells International
Volume 2017, Article ID 5046953, 10 pages
Review Article

Structure and Functions of Blood Vessels and Vascular Niches in Bone

1Institute of Clinical Sciences, Imperial College London, London W12 0NN, UK
2MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences, Imperial College London, London W12 0NN, UK

Correspondence should be addressed to Saravana K. Ramasamy;

Received 5 May 2017; Revised 26 July 2017; Accepted 23 August 2017; Published 17 September 2017

Academic Editor: Hong Qian

Copyright © 2017 Saravana K. Ramasamy. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Bone provides nurturing microenvironments for an array of cell types that coordinate important physiological functions of the skeleton, such as energy metabolism, mineral homeostasis, osteogenesis, and haematopoiesis. Endothelial cells form an intricate network of blood vessels that organises and sustains various microenvironments in bone. The recent identification of heterogeneity in the bone vasculature supports the existence of multiple vascular niches within the bone marrow compartment. A unique combination of cells and factors defining a particular microenvironment, supply regulatory signals to mediate a specific function. This review discusses recent developments in our understanding of vascular niches in bone that play a critical role in regulating the behaviour of multipotent haematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells during development and homeostasis.