We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a Stem Cell Niche?

By Lee Johnson
Updated Jan 27, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A stem cell niche is basically a location within the body in which stem cells can be found. The phrase technically refers to the specific part of each general area of tissue which is believed to contain stem cells. Many different locations within the adult human body contain a stem cell niche, such as the bone marrow, skin, and the liver. In addition, stem cells exist in abundance in embryos. Stem cells are basically unspecialized cells which can later learn to perform a specialized function, and thereby repair damaged tissue.

A specific micro-environment which is home to stem cells is called a stem cell niche. In humans, stem cell niches can be found in the bone marrow, the brain, blood vessels, and the heart, amongst other places. A man’s testicles and a woman’s ovaries also contain a stem cell niche, as does the umbilical cord which links a mother to her baby. When a stem cell is removed from its niche, it isn’t as able to divide, which is necessary if it is going to adapt to fill another function within the body. Scientists are looking at ways to grow more stem cells using “cell culture.”

Ordinarily, stem cells occupy a stem cell niche until they are needed by the body to replace some damaged tissue. Within the niche, the stem cells ordinarily don’t divide, remaining quiescent until they are needed. The stem cell niche is technically a specific location within each general tissue area in which stem cells reside. For example, within bone marrow the stem cells are located near to the osteoblastic lining cells.

Scientists are searching for new stem cell niche locations because of the benefits that stem cells could have to medicine. Stem cells are essentially cells which have not yet developed a specialized function to serve within the body. This fact means that one stem cell can be turned into a neuron, a specialized brain cell, or an insulin secreting pancreatic cell, depending on how it is cultured. Cocktails of different chemicals are added when growing stem cells to simulate the specific environment they are needed to function in.

Some stem cell niches are located within embryonic fetuses. The reason for this is that much fewer of the cells that make up the fetus have specialized functions because they are still developing. These types of stem cell niches contain more useful stem cells because they don’t have to be “re-invigorated” prior to use. The use of embryos has made stem cell research a controversial topic, however.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.