Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is the most powerful treatment modality for a large number of hematopoietic malignancies, including leukemia. Successful hematopoietic recovery after transplantation depends on homing of hematopoietic stem cells to the bone marrow and subsequent lodging of those cells in specific niches in the bone marrow. Migration of hematopoietic stem cells to the bone marrow is a highly regulated process that requires correct regulation of the expression and activity of various molecules including chemoattractants, selectins and integrins. This review will discuss recent studies that have extended our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying adhesion, migration and bone marrow homing of hematopoietic stem cells.
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