Hypoxia Signaling Pathway in Stem Cell Regulation: Good and Evil

Xinxin Huang, Thao Trinh, Arafat Aljoufi, Hal E. Broxmeyer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: This review summarizes the role of hypoxia and hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) in the regulation of stem cell biology, specifically focusing on maintenance, differentiation, and stress responses in the context of several stem cell systems. Stem cells for different lineages/tissues reside in distinct niches, and are exposed to diverse oxygen concentrations. Recent studies have revealed the importance of the hypoxia signaling pathway for stem cell functions. Recent Findings: Hypoxia and HIFs contribute to maintenance of embryonic stem cells, generation of induced pluripotent stem cells, functionality of hematopoietic stem cells, and survival of leukemia stem cells. Harvest and collection of mouse bone marrow and human cord blood cells in ambient air results in fewer hematopoietic stem cells recovered due to the phenomenon of Extra PHysiologic Oxygen Shock/Stress (EPHOSS). Summary: Oxygen is an important factor in the stem cell microenvironment. Hypoxia signaling and HIFs play important roles in modeling cellular metabolism in both stem cells and niches to regulate stem cell biology, and represent an additional dimension that allows stem cells to maintain an undifferentiated status and multilineage differentiation potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-157
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Stem Cell Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018


  • Cancer stem cells
  • HIF
  • Hematopoietic stem cells
  • Hypoxia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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