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Blood. 2000 Sep 15;96(6):2093-9.

Interferon-alpha directly represses megakaryopoiesis by inhibiting thrombopoietin-induced signaling through induction of SOCS-1.

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Division of Hematology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.


Interferon (IFN)-alpha has proven useful for treating several clinical conditions, including chronic viral hepatitis and chronic myeloproliferative and lymphoproliferative disorders. In addition to its well-known antiviral effects, the cytokine exerts antiproliferative effects on many cell types, helping to explain its therapeutic usefulness in these latter conditions. However, this same property accounts for several undesirable effects, including thrombocytopenia, which can interfere with the successful clinical application of IFN-alpha. Unfortunately, the mechanisms responsible for the myelosuppressive effects of the cytokine are incompletely understood. The effects of IFN-alpha on megakaryocyte (MK) development were studied. Using several marrow cell purification techniques and quantitative culture methods, it was found that IFN-alpha directly inhibits thrombopoietin (TPO)-induced MK growth. Previous studies indicated that Janus kinase (JAK) and its substrates mediate the effects of TPO on cellular proliferation and survival. It was found that IFN-alpha directly suppresses TPO-induced phosphorylation of the JAK2 substrates c-Mpl and STAT 5 in a TPO-dependent hematopoietic cell line and of Mpl and STAT3 in primary murine MK. Moreover, IFN-alpha induces SOCS-1 production in these cells, which has been shown to inhibit TPO-induced cell growth. Because SOCS protein expression is induced by many cytokines and has been reported to extinguish signaling from several hematopoietic cytokine receptors, these results identify a molecular mechanism responsible for cytokine receptor cross-talk.

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