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Hematopoiesis - An overview

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The development and production of blood cellular components are known as hematopoiesis. Read on to know more about hematopoiesis.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Utkarsh Sharma

Published At September 27, 2022
Reviewed AtMay 9, 2024

What Is Blood?

Blood is a bodily fluid that transports essential chemicals such as nutrition and oxygen to cells. It is made up of blood cells suspended in blood plasma. In vertebrates, red blood cells, also known as RBCs or erythrocytes, white blood cells, also known as WBCs or leukocytes, and platelets are the most common types of blood cells. Plasma, which makes up 55% of blood fluid, is largely water (92%) and contains dispersed proteins, glucose, mineral ions, hormones, and carbon dioxide. These cells transport oxygen to organs and tissues throughout the body. White blood cells assist the body in fighting illnesses. Platelets are small molecules that combine to form clots on bleeding wounds. These three types of cells develop in bone marrow, the soft tissue found within bones. All of the blood cell families contribute to maintaining a healthy body.

What Is Hematopoiesis?

  • Haemopoiesis is derived from the Greek phrase "to generate fresh blood," and it relates to the development of blood cellular components. All biological components of the blood are produced from hematopoietic stem cells.

  • All blood cells and plasma are derived from a stem cell, which can differentiate into any other cell. It happens inside the hematopoietic system, which includes organs and tissues such as bone marrow, liver, and spleen.

  • Hematopoiesis is the process through which blood cells are produced. Immune cells (white blood cells), red blood cells, and platelets are among the cells that circulate in the blood. Every day, the body generates an astounding 100 billion blood cells. This is required because immune cells and red blood cells have limited half-lives and are frequently destroyed in order to protect against infectious diseases.

  • The areas of blood cell synthesis differ depending on whether the child is still in its mother's womb or later during infancy and maturity.

How Does Hematopoiesis Occur?

  • During primitive hematopoiesis, hematopoiesis in the embryo creates only red blood cells capable of supplying oxygen to growing organs. The yolk sac, which feeds the embryo until the placenta develops fully, controls hematopoiesis at this point of development.

  • As the embryo develops, the hematopoiesis process proceeds to the liver, spleen, and bone marrow, where it starts to produce various types of blood cells.

  • Hematopoiesis of red blood cells and platelets occurs predominantly in the bone marrow in adults. It may also persist in the spleen and liver of newborns and children.

  • The lymphatic system, which includes the spleen, lymph nodes, and thymus, produces lymphocytes, which are white blood cells. Monocytes are white blood cells produced by tissue in the liver, spleen, lymph nodes, and other organs.

  • The pace of hematopoiesis is determined by the requirements of the body. The body is constantly producing new blood cells to replace old ones. Every day, around one percent of the body's blood cells must be replenished.

  • White blood cells have the lowest life span, sometimes lasting only a few hours to a few days, but red blood cells can live for up to 120 days.

  • The hematopoiesis process begins with an unspecialized stem cell. This stem cell divides, and some of the resultant cells differentiate into progenitor cells. These are cells that are intended to become a certain kind of blood cell but have not yet grown fully. These immature cells, however, quickly divide and develop into blood components such as red and white blood cells and platelets.

What Is the Process of Hematopoiesis?

This process begins in the bone marrow, the deepest component of bone that contains hematopoietic stem cells. These act as progenitor cells for all of the different types of blood cells. First, hematopoietic stem cells, also known as hemocytoblasts, can differentiate into lymphoid or myeloid progenitors. Lymphoid progenitors can differentiate into lymphoblasts, which can later become T-lymphocytes, B-lymphocytes, or natural killer cells. Myeloid progenitors can develop into erythrocytes, megakaryocytes, or myeloblasts, which can subsequently develop into immune cells such as monocytes, neutrophils, basophils, and eosinophils. Now, in order for a hematopoietic stem cell to mature, it must acquire the right signals in the form of certain growth chemicals known as growth factors or stimulating factors, despite the fact that there are several elements that drive these cells to differentiate.

What Are Hematopoietic Stem Cells?

Hematopoietic stem cells are found in the medulla of the bone (bone marrow) and have the capacity to grow into all sorts of blood cells and tissues. They are cells that regenerate themselves. Daughter cells are the outcome of the division of a single-parent cell. A single parent cell splits, resulting in the formation of two daughter cells. Mitosis is a cell cycle step that involves the division of the cell nucleus and the separation of chromosomes.

What Conditions Affect Hematopoiesis?

The production of blood cells can be affected by a variety of conditions. These conditions include:

  • Bone marrow failure might occur as a result of the death of hematopoietic stem cells induced by drugs, infections, or autoimmune illnesses.

  • Bone resorption, or destruction, might halt the formation of hematopoietic stem cells.

  • Anemia develops when the body fails to create the required number of red blood cells. It causes exhaustion and weakness because red blood cells do not provide enough oxygen to the muscles and other tissues.

  • Blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma can potentially interfere with normal blood cell formation.

  • A lack of white blood cells reduces the body's ability to fight against sickness. If the platelet count is low, bleeding episodes and significant bruising are more likely to occur.

  • Inefficient hematopoiesis can arise as a result of stem cell mutations or a shortage of vitamin B12 or folate.

  • Many abnormalities can affect normal hematopoiesis, including genetic conditions, infections, toxins, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and medicines.

  • A genetic mutation can affect the formation of hematopoietic cells.


The process through which the body produces blood cells is known as hematopoiesis. It starts early in the development process of an embryo, far before birth, and lasts throughout an individual's life. In case of any blood-related issue, it may be able to stabilize the blood cell production with adequate therapy. Hematopoiesis is also a crucial phase in the medical therapy of bone marrow disease patients. Stem cell and bone marrow transplant patients rely on hematopoiesis to produce new healthy blood cells in order to cure illnesses such as leukemia and other blood malignancies, genetic blood abnormalities, and some immunological disorders.

If there are any major medical concerns, a basic blood test can reveal any abnormalities in red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. These figures are part of a routine blood test known as a complete blood count.

Dr. Utkarsh Sharma
Dr. Utkarsh Sharma



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