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David, Charles N. and Plotnick, Ida (1980): Distribution of interstitial stem cells in Hydra. In: Developmental Biology, Vol. 76, No. 1: pp. 175-184 [PDF, 999kB]


The distribution of interstitial stem cells along the Hydra body column was determined using a simplified cloning assay. The assay measures stem cells as clone-forming units (CFU) in aggregates of nitrogen mustard inactivated Hydra tissue. The concentration of stem cells in the gastric region was uniform at about 0.02 CFU/epithelial cell. In both the hypostome and basal disk the concentration was 20-fold lower. A decrease in the ratio of stem cells to committed nerve and nematocyte precursors was correlated with the decrease in stem cell concentration in both hypostome and basal disk. The ratio of stem cells to committed precursors is a sensitive indicator of the rate of self-renewal in the stem cell population. From the ratio it can be estimated that <10% of stem cells self-renew in the hypostome and basal disk compared to 60% in the gastric region. Thus, the results provide an explanation for the observed depletion of stem cells in these regions. The results also suggest that differentiation and self-renewal compete for the same stem cell population.

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