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Exp Hematol. 2000 Aug;28(8):961-73.

Differential effects of interleukin-3, interleukin-7, interleukin 15, and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor in the generation of natural killer and B cells from primitive human fetal liver progenitors.

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The Fetal Treatment Center Research Laboratory, UCSF Cancer Research Center, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA.


The regulatory roles of a number of early-acting growth factors on the generation of natural killer (NK) cells and B cells from primitive progenitors were studied. Experiments focused on the contributions of granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulates factor (GM-CSF) and interleukin-3 (IL-3) to the regulation of the early events of lymphopoiesis.Two progenitor populations isolated from human fetal liver were studied, CD38(-)CD34(++)lineage(-) (Lin(-)) cells (candidate hematopoietic stem cells [HSCs]) and the more mature CD38(+)CD34(++)Lin(-) cells. The effects of different cytokines on the generation of CD56(+)CD3(-) NK cells and CD19(+) B cells were studied in serum-deprived cultures in the absence of stroma.NK cells generated in vitro were able to kill NK-sensitive target cells, expressed NK-associated marker CD161 (NKR-P1A), but exhibited little or no expression of CD2, CD8, CD16, CD94/NKG2A, or killer cell inhibitory receptors (KIRs). Among the cytokine combinations tested, kit ligand (KL) and IL-15 provided the best conditions for generating CD56(+) NK cells from CD38(+)CD34(++)Lin(-) cells. However, either flk-2/flt3 ligand (FL), GM-CSF, IL-3, or IL-7 could partially substitute KL. All of these cytokines also supported the growth of NK-cell progenitors from candidate HSC, with the combination of IL-15, KL, GM-CSF, and FL generating the greatest number of CD56(+) cells. B cells were generated from both progenitor populations in response to the combined effects of KL, FL, and IL-7. Both B and NK cells were generated with the further addition of IL-15 to these cultures. The in vitro generated B cells were CD10(+), CD19(+), HLA-DR(+), HLA-DQ(+), and some were CD20(+), but no cytoplasmic or surface immunoglobulin M expression was observed. In contrast with NK lymphopoiesis, GM-CSF, IL-3, and IL-15 had no effect on the generation of B cells from CD38(-)CD34(++)Lin(-) cells, and GM-CSF inhibited B-cell generation from CD38(+)CD34(++)Lin(-) progenitors. These findings indicate a differential regulation of NK and B lymphopoiesis beginning in the early stages of hematopoiesis as exemplified by the distinctive roles of IL-7, IL-15, GM-CSF, and IL-3.

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