• Bone marrow aplasia;
  • Chemotheraphy;
  • Cytokines;
  • Hematopoietic progenitor cells Microenvironment;
  • Hyaluronan


The fate of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) is determined by microenvironmental niches, but the molecular structure of these local networks is not yet completely characterized. Our recent observation that glycosaminoglycan hyaluronic acid (HA), a major component of the bone marrow extracellular matrix, is required for in vitro hematopoiesis led us to suggest a role for HA in structuring the hematopoietic niche. Accordingly, HA deprivation induced by various treatments might lead to an imbalance of normal HSC homeostasis. Since 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) administration sharply decreases the amount of cell surface–associated HA in bone marrow, we examined whether the administration of exogenous HA enhances suppressed hematopoiesis in 5-FU–treated mice. HA administered to mice following 5-FU infusion facilitated the recovery of leukocytes and thrombocytes in the peripheral blood. Intravenously infused HA was found in the bone marrow, where it bound endothelial cells and resident macrophages and increased expression of the hematopoiesis-supportive cytokines interleukin-1 and interleukin-6. In agreement with these observations, enhanced hematopoietic activity was detected in the bone marrow, as measured by elevated counts of long-term culture-initiating cells (LTC-ICs), committed progenitors, and the total number of mature bone marrow cells. Overall, our results suggest that HA is required for regulation of the hematopoiesis-supportive function of bone marrow accessory cells and, therefore, participates in hematopoietic niche assembly.