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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 758512, 11 pages
Review Article

The Expanding Family of Bone Marrow Homing Factors for Hematopoietic Stem Cells: Stromal Derived Factor 1 Is Not the Only Player in the Game

1Stem Cell Biology Program at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40202, USA
2Department of Physiology, Pomeranian Medical University, 70-111 Szczecin, Poland
3Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2G3

Received 28 February 2012; Accepted 29 March 2012

Academic Editors: A. Aronheim, L. Berghella, M. Bouche, R. D. Byrne, and S. Mañes

Copyright © 2012 Mariusz Z. Ratajczak et al. 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.


The α-chemokine stromal derived factor 1 (SDF-1), which binds to the CXCR4 and CXCR7 receptors, directs migration and homing of CXCR4+ hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) to bone marrow (BM) and plays a crucial role in retention of these cells in stem cell niches. However, this unique role of SDF-1 has been recently challenged by several observations supporting SDF-1-CXCR4-independent BM homing. Specifically, it has been demonstrated that HSPCs respond robustly to some bioactive lipids, such as sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) and ceramide-1-phosphate (C1P), and migrate in response to gradients of certain extracellular nucleotides, including uridine triphosphate (UTP) and adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Moreover, the responsiveness of HSPCs to an SDF-1 gradient is enhanced by some elements of innate immunity (e.g., C3 complement cascade cleavage fragments and antimicrobial cationic peptides, such as cathelicidin/LL-37 or β2-defensin) as well as prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). Since all these factors are upregulated in BM after myeloblative conditioning for transplantation, a more complex picture of homing emerges that involves several factors supporting, and in some situations even replacing, the SDF-1-CXCR4 axis.