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Blood. 2005 Aug 1;106(3):827-32. Epub 2005 Feb 3.

A limited role for p16Ink4a and p19Arf in the loss of hematopoietic stem cells during proliferative stress.

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  • 1Department of Hematology/Oncology, St Jude Children's Research Hospital, 332 N Lauderdale St, Memphis, TN 38105, USA.


It has long been known that prolonged culture or serial transplantation leads to the loss of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs); however, the mechanisms for this loss are not well understood. We hypothesized that expression of p16Ink4a or p19Arf or both may play a role in the loss of HSCs during conditions of enhanced proliferation, either in vitro or in vivo. Arf was not expressed in freshly isolated HSCs from adult mice but was induced in phenotypically primitive cells after 10 to 12 days in culture. When cultured bone marrow cells from either Arf-/- or Ink4a-Arf-/- mice were compared to wild-type cells in a competitive repopulation assay, no significant differences in HSC activity were seen. We then evaluated the role of p19Arf and p16Ink4a in the loss of HSCs during serial transplantation. Bone marrow cells from Ink4a-Arf-/-, but not Arf-/-, mice had a modestly extended life span and, on average, supported reconstitution of one additional recipient compared to wild-type cells. Mice given transplants of Ink4a-Arf-/-cells eventually did die of hematopoietic failure in the next round of transplantation. We conclude that mechanisms independent of the Ink4a-Arf gene locus play a dominant role in HSC loss during conditions of proliferative stress.

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