Image of the Day: Blood and Guts
Image of the Day: Blood and Guts

Image of the Day: Blood and Guts

Researchers find that stem cells in the human intestine may provide up to 10 percent of circulating blood cells.

Dec 13, 2018
Carolyn Wilke

ABOVE: Human hematopoietic stem cells in the intestine
MEGAN SYKES/COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

The gut pumps out blood cells produced by its own population of hematopoietic, or blood-forming, stem cells, researchers reported November 29 in Cell Stem Cell. Previously, scientists thought that only the hematopoietic stem cells of the bone marrow created blood cells. The finding may have implications for patients who receive intestinal transplants to treat diseases such as Crohn’s. The blood cells from the donated gut may help a person’s body accept the organ, as the scientists observed that patients with higher numbers of blood cells originating from the donor gut were less likely to reject the transplant. 

J. Fu et al., “Human intestinal allografts contain functional hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells that are maintained by a circulating pool,” Cell Stem Cell, doi:10.1016/j.stem.2018.11.007, 2018.