Pathology dictionary

Hematopoietic cells

What are hematopoietic cells?

Hematopoietic cells are immature or developing blood cells. Most hematopoietic cells are found in bone marrow, a specialized type of tissue at the centre of a bone. Hematopoietic cells can also be found in the liver and spleen.

There are three main types of hematopoietic cells and each produce a different group of blood cells. All of the blood cells that come from a single type of hematopoietic cell are called a “lineage”.

The three lineages of hematopoietic cells are:

  1. Erythroid: This is the lineage that produces red blood cells (RBC). Developing red blood cells are called erythroblasts.
  2. Granulocytic: This lineage produces white blood cells such as neutrophils. Immature granulocytes are called myeloblasts.
  3. Megakaryocytic: This lineage produces platelets. Platelets come from large cells called megakaryocytes.

Cells from all three lineages are found in a normal, healthy bone marrow.

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