Dynamics of human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell differentiation to the erythroid lineage

Natascha Schippel, Shalini Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Erythropoiesis, the development of erythrocytes from hematopoietic stem cells, occurs through four phases: erythroid progenitor (EP) development, early erythropoiesis, terminal erythroid differentiation (TED), and maturation. According to the classical model that is based on immunophenotypic profiles of cell populations, each of these phases comprises multiple differentiation states that arise in a hierarchical manner. After segregation of lymphoid potential, erythroid priming begins during progenitor development and progresses through progenitor cell types that have multilineage potential. Complete separation of the erythroid lineage is achieved during early erythropoiesis with the formation of unipotent EPs: burst-forming unit-erythroid and colony-forming unit-erythroid. These erythroid-committed progenitors undergo TED and maturation, which involves expulsion of the nucleus and remodeling to form functional biconcave, hemoglobin-filled erythrocytes. In the last decade or so, many studies employing advanced techniques such as single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) as well as the conventional methods, including colony-forming cell assays and immunophenotyping, have revealed heterogeneity within the stem, progenitor, and erythroblast stages, and uncovered alternate paths for segregation of erythroid lineage potential. In this review, we provide an in-depth account of immunophenotypic profiles of all cell types within erythropoiesis, highlight studies that demonstrate heterogeneous erythroid stages, and describe deviations to the classical model of erythropoiesis. Overall, although scRNA-seq approaches have provided new insights, flow cytometry remains relevant and is the primary method for validation of novel immunophenotypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalExperimental Hematology
StatePublished - Jul 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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