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Cytotherapy. 2008;10(2):182-92. doi: 10.1080/14653240801910897.

CFU-megakaryocytic progenitors expanded ex vivo from cord blood maintain their in vitro homing potential and express matrix metalloproteinases.

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  • 1Canadian Blood Services, Research and Development, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.



In patients transplanted with cord blood (CB), prolonged thrombocytopenia is a major complication. However, this could be alleviated by supplementing the CB graft with ex vivo-expanded megakaryocytic progenitors (CFU-Meg), provided that the homing properties of these cells are not affected negatively by expansion.


We assessed the in vitro homing potential of CFU-Meg progenitors expanded from CB and showed that the combination of thrombopoietin (TPO) with interleukin-3 (IL-3) used for expansion not only results in optimal proliferation of CFU-Meg but also protects these cells from apoptosis. Moreover, we found that ex vivo-expanded CFU-Meg maintained expression of the CXCR4 receptor throughout a 9-day culture and were chemoattracted towards a stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1) gradient. They also expressed matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) and membrane-type (MT) 1-MMP, and transmigrated across the reconstituted basement membrane Matrigel. Finally, we observed that SDF-1 up-regulated the expression of both MMP-9 and MT1-MMP in CB CD34(+) cells and ex vivo-expanded CFU-Meg.


We suggest that CB-expanded CFU-Meg, in particular those from day 3 of expansion, when their proliferation and in vitro homing potential are maximal, could be employed to supplement CB grafts and speed up platelet recovery in transplant recipients.

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