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Br J Haematol. 2002 Jul;118(1):181-8.

Hypoplastic myelodysplastic syndromes can be distinguished from acquired aplastic anaemia by bone marrow stem cell expression of the tumour necrosis factor receptor.

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  • 1First Department ofInternal Medicine, Gifu University School of Medicine, Gifu, Japan.


It is often difficult to distinguish hypoplastic myelodysplastic syndrome (h-MDS) from acquired aplastic anaemia (AA), because of the considerable clinical, cytological and histological similarities between these two disorders. The distinction between AA and h-MDS is important because there is a higher risk of progression to acute leukaemia in patients with h-MDS compared with AA. Recent studies suggest that tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) plays an important role in the development of AA. In order to determine the potential importance of TNF-alpha in the differential diagnosis of hypoplastic bone marrow (BM) disorders, we examined whether analysis ofTNF-receptor expression could be used as a tool to differentiate AA from h-MDS. Flow cytometric analysis revealed that BM stem cells (CD34+) from AA patients have markedly greater TNF receptor (R) 1 and TNFR2 expression than those from patients with MDS and h-MDS. We suggest that the BM stem cells with a high expression of TNFR in patients with AA may be potently sensitive to TNF-alpha stimulation of differentiation. Thus, we propose that quantification of TNFR expression in BM stem cellsmay be a useful method to distinguish AA from h-MDS.

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