• Stem cells;
  • Mobilization;
  • Blood;
  • Hypoxia;
  • Hematopoiesis


MSCs constitute a population of multipotential cells giving rise to adipocytes, osteoblasts, chondrocytes, and vascular-smooth muscle-like hematopoietic supportive stromal cells. It remains unclear whether MSCs can be isolated from adult peripheral blood under stationary conditions and whether they can be mobilized in a way similar to hematopoietic stem cells. In this report, we show that MSCs are regularly observed in the circulating blood of rats and that the circulating MSC pool is consistently and dramatically increased (by almost 15-fold) when animals are exposed to chronic hypoxia. The immunophenotype and the adipocytic, osteoblastic, and chondrocytic differentiation potential of circulating MSCs were similar to those of bone marrow MSCs. Hypoxia-induced mobilization appears to be specific for MSCs since total circulating hematopoietic progenitor cells were not significantly increased. Our data provide an in vivo model amenable to analysis of MSC-mobilizing factors.