Hematopoiesis is regulated by cholesterol efflux pathways and lipid rafts: Connections with cardiovascular diseases

Pooranee K. Morgan, Longhou Fang, Graeme I. Lancaster, Andrew J. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Lipid rafts are highly ordered regions of the plasma membrane that are enriched in cholesterol and sphingolipids and play important roles in many cells. In hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs), lipid rafts house receptors critical for normal hematopoiesis. Lipid rafts also can bind and sequester kinases that induce negative feedback pathways to limit proliferative cytokine receptor cycling back to the cell membrane. Modulation of lipid rafts occurs through an array of mechanisms, with optimal cholesterol efflux one of the major regulators. As such, cholesterol homeostasis also regulates hematopoiesis. Increased lipid raft content, which occurs in response to changes in cholesterol efflux in the membrane, can result in prolonged receptor occupancy in the cell membrane and enhanced signaling. In addition, certain diseases, like diabetes, may contribute to lipid raft formation and affect cholesterol retention in rafts. In this review, we explore the role of lipid raft-related mechanisms in hematopoiesis and CVD (specifically, atherosclerosis) and discuss how defective cholesterol efflux pathways in HSPCs contribute to expansion of lipid rafts, thereby promoting myelopoiesis and thrombopoiesis. We also discuss the utility of cholesterol acceptors in contributing to lipid raft regulation and disruption, and highlight the potential to manipulate these pathways for therapeutic gain in CVD as well as other disorders with aberrant hematopoiesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)667-675
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of lipid research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2020


  • ApoA-I binding protein
  • Hematopoiesis
  • Lipid rafts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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