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The haematopoietic system plays an essential role in our health and survival. It is comprised of a range of mature blood and immune cell types, including oxygen-carrying erythrocytes, platelet-producing megakaryocytes and infection-fighting myeloid and lymphoid cells. Self-renewing multipotent haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and a range of intermediate haematopoietic progenitor cell types differentiate into these mature cell types to continuously support haematopoietic system homeostasis throughout life. This process of haematopoiesis is tightly regulated in vivo and primarily takes place in the bone marrow. Over the years, a range of in vitro culture systems have been developed, either to expand haematopoietic stem and progenitor cells or to differentiate them into the various haematopoietic lineages, based on the use of recombinant cytokines, co-culture systems and/or small molecules. These approaches provide important tractable models to study human haematopoiesis in vitro. Additionally, haematopoietic cell culture systems are being developed and clinical tested as a source of cell products for transplantation and transfusion medicine. This review discusses the in vitro culture protocols for human HSC expansion and differentiation, and summarises the key factors involved in these biological processes.

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B cell, T cell, differentiation, erythrocyte, expansion, haematopoiesis, haematopoietic stem cells, in vitro, megakaryocyte, monocyte, neutrophil, self-renewal, Humans, Hematopoietic Stem Cells, Cell Differentiation, Megakaryocytes, Hematopoiesis, Bone Marrow