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Exp Hematol. 1999 Sep;27(9):1451-9.

Fas ligand promotes cell survival of immature human bone marrow CD34+CD38- hematopoietic progenitor cells by suppressing apoptosis.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, The Norwegian Radium Hospital, Oslo, Norway.


Fas (CD95, APO-1) is a member of the TNF receptor family, and engagement of Fas by its ligand, Fas ligand (FasL), can induce apoptotic death of Fas expressing cells. Signaling through Fas has previously been shown to induce apoptosis of CD34+ human hematopoietic progenitor cells after exposure to IFN-gamma or TFN-alpha. In contrast, we found that FasL promoted a significantly increased viability of primitive CD34+CD38- cells. Thus, incubation with FasL for 48 hours reduced cell death from 46 to 29% compared to cells cultured in medium alone as measured by propidium iodide (PI) incorporation (n = 8, p < 0.02). Inhibition of apoptosis was confirmed by morphological analysis and by the Nicoletti technique. Furthermore, by using a delayed addition assay at the single cell level we found that sFasL treatment had a direct viability-promoting effect on CD34(+)CD38(-) cells. The effect of sFasL was completely blocked by NOK-1, a neutralizing mAb against FasL. In agreement with previous reports, FasL alone slightly increased cell death of more mature CD34(-)CD38+ cells, indicating an interesting shift in the responsiveness to FasL during early hematopoiesis.

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