Hematopoietic stem cells are known to reside in distinct niches within the bone marrow. These niches are critical to support maintenance and function of hematopoietic stem cells. Changes in bone marrow niches upon aging, and importantly, how these changes might contribute to aging of HSCs, is the main focus of investigations of this topic. Understanding the fundamental basis of these processes is clinically relevant and strategies to protect hematopoietic stem cell from aging have therapeutic potential.
Numerous hematopoietic and non-hematopoietic cells and other niche elements interact within a dynamic and complex 3D architecture to support HSC function. To understand and reveal this highly complex stem cell/niche interaction, sophisticated imaging tools are required. However, simultaneously imaging of HSCs and niche components in situ is still technically challenging. This project develops a novel implemented methodology for simultaneously imaging of HSCs, progenitors and various niche components in the bone from large field to cellular levels and is applicable for various tissues and organs.