Allometric scaling of the active hematopoietic stem cell pool across mammals

David Dingli, Jorge M. Pacheco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Background. Many biological processes are characterized by allometric relations of the type Y=Y0Mb between an observable Y and body mass M, which pervade at multiple levels of organization. In what regards the hematopoietic stem cell pool, there is experimental evidence that the size of the hematopoietic stem cell pool is conserved in mammals. However, demands for blood cell formation vary across mammals and thus the size of the active stem cell compartment could vary across species. Methodology/Principle Findings. Here we investigate the allometric scaling of the hematopoietic system in a large group of mammalian species using reticulocyte counts as a marker of the active stem cell pool. Our model predicts that the total number of active stem cells, in an adult mammal, scales with body mass with the exponent 3/4. Conclusion/Significance. The scaling predicted here provides an intuitive justification of the Hayflick hypothesis and supports the current view of a small active stem cell pool supported by a large, quiescent reserve. The present scaling shows excellent agreement with the available (indirect) data for smaller mammals. The small size of the active stem cell pool enhances the role of stochastic effects in the overall dynamics of the hematopoietic system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2
JournalPloS one
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 20 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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