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Br J Haematol. 1999 Jun;105(4):1044-54.

Expression of CD41 and c-mpl does not indicate commitment to the megakaryocyte lineage during haemopoietic development.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, New York University Medical Center, NY, USA.


Haemopoietic progenitors with the phenotype expected of early megakaryocyte precursors (CD34+ CD41+) were isolated from normal human bone marrow or induced in culture from CD34+ CD41- bone marrow cells by treatment with thrombopoietin (TPO) or IL-3. We found that although this population included the majority of cells that can form CFU-MK in culture, it also contained both erythroid and myeloid progenitors. The clonogenic potential of the CD34+ CD41+-induced cells was greater than that of isolated CD34+ CD41+ cells in that the isolated cells only formed CFU-MK and BFU-e, whereas the induced cells formed myeloid colonies as well. Glycophorin was found on isolated CD34+ CD41+ cells, not on induced cells. Its presence distinguished between MK and erythroid progenitors. Separation of a CD34+ CD41+ glycophorin A+ population resulted in the isolation of a highly purified population of BFU-e. A major portion of the cells that expressed CD34+ CD41+, in either cohort, were of the erythroid lineage. True MK progenitors were present in the CD34+ population in greater proportion than in whole marrow and were further enriched amongst CD34+ populations that expressed CD41. The presence of the thrombopoietin (TPO) receptor, c-mpl, did not correlate with inducibility of the gpIIbIIIa complex since essentially all CD34+ progenitors, including the earliest identifiable human haemopoietic progenitors (CD34+ CD38- cells), expressed c-mpl mRNA detectable by PCR regardless of their ultimate fate. Thus neither the expression of CD41 nor the expression of c-mpl was predictive of commitment to the MK lineage.

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