Normal Blood Cell Development

An important part of treating patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) is understanding their condition and knowing how blood cells develop from stem cells.

Pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells give rise to all types of blood cells. When a hematopoietic stem cell divides, one of the 2 daughter cells may remain a stem cell and the other may differentiate into a myeloid or lymphoid stem cell, as shown in the figure below.1

  • The myeloid stem cell lineage, which is important in MDS, differentiates further, ultimately giving rise to platelets, erythrocytes (red blood cells), white blood cells (neutrophils, basophils, and eosinophils), and monocytes.1 These are highlighted in the yellow box below
  • The lymphoid stem cells differentiate into lymphoblasts, which ultimately differentiate into natural killer cells and lymphocytes1


For an in-depth look at red blood cell production, see Understanding Erythropoiesis.

Reference: 1. Betts JG, Young KA, Wise JA, et al. Anatomy & Physiology. 2nd ed. Houston, TX: OpenStax, Rice University; 2017. https://cnx.org/contents/FPtK1zmh@8.25:AZ9CODIR@5/Production-of-the-Formed-Elements. Accessed October 22, 2018.