Clonal origin in normal adults of all blood lineages and circulating hematopoietic stem cells

Kai Wang, Zi Yan, Shouping Zhang, Boris Bartholdy, Connie J. Eaves, Eric E. Bouhassira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Characterization of human cells that sustain blood cell production lifelong has historically been inferred from phenotypically defined subsets of cells assayed in vitro, in transplanted immunodeficient mice, or in patients transplanted with genetically marked cells. These approaches have led to the concept of a persistent complex hierarchical process of differentiation divisions originating from a rare population of CD34+CD38CD45RACD90+CD49f+ cells with an average self-renewal potential of >0.5 and an ability to produce some or all blood cell types for >1 year. However, the role of these “49f” cells in the unperturbed adult has remained poorly understood. To address this gap, somatic single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNVs) have recently been exploited as lineage tracing markers to enumerate and characterize active hematopoietic clones in normal adults using a capture and recapture approach. We show here that the use of somatic transversions to identify somatically acquired variant alleles enabled their detection in bulk populations at frequencies of approximately 1 in 80,000 cells. We then applied this method to blood cells isolated from two normal adults (aged 31 and 53 years) over a 1- to 3-year period. The results revealed in both donors a continued clonal output of both T- and B-lymphoid cells as well as myeloid cells identified by the same unique transversions found to distinguish single 49f cells isolated from the same donors’ initial blood samples. These findings provide the first evidence of a continuing hematopoietic stem cell–derived source of all mature blood cell types in normal (unperturbed) adult humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-34.e2
JournalExperimental Hematology
StatePublished - Mar 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Hematology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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