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Immunity. 1999 Feb;10(2):173-82.

Functional characterization of a novel hematopoietic stem cell and its place in the c-Kit maturation pathway in bone marrow cell development.

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Intramural Research Support Program, SAIC-Frederick, Maryland 71702, USA.


While the majority of purified pluripotential hematopoietic stem cells (PHSC) express c-Kit, the receptor for steel factor, we have phenotypically and functionally separated a distinct class of PHSC that does not express c-Kit. In contrast to c-Kit-positive (c-Kit(pos)) PHSC, the c-Kit-negative (c-Kit(neg)) PHSC do not proliferate in response to multiple hematopoietic growth factors in vitro and do not radioprotect or form macroscopic spleen colonies (CFU-s) when transplanted into lethally irradiated recipients. However, the c-Kit(neg) PHSC show delayed or slow reconstitution kinetics when cotransplanted with radioprotective bone marrow cells. c-Kit(neg) PHSCs cells can give rise to c-Kit(pos) cells with CFU-s activity, radioprotective activity, and PHSC activity. Thus, constitutive hematopoiesis is maintained by c-Kit(pos) PHSCS cells that are recruited from a more primitive quiescent c-Kit(neg) PHSC population, which represents a critical developmental stage in definitive hematopoiesis.

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