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Leukemia. 2003 Jun;17(6):1137-45.

Functional characterization of human CD34+ cells that express low or high levels of the membrane antigen CD111 (nectin 1).

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Centre de Thérapie Cellulaire et Génique, Institut Paoli-Calmettes, Centre Régional de Lutte Contre le Cancer Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, 232 boulevard Sainte-Marguerite, 13273 Marseille Cedex 9, France.


Nectins are recently described adhesion molecules that are widely expressed on many tissues, including the hematopoietic tissue. Nectin 1 (CD111) is expressed on a higher proportion of mobilized peripheral blood (mPB) than cord blood (CB) CD34+ cells, and of CD34+/CD38+ cells when compared with CD34+/CD38- cells. We studied functional properties of human CB and mPB CD34+ cells that express low or high levels of CD111. CD34+/CD111(dim) cells contain a higher proportion of cells in G0/G1 phase than CD34+/CD111(bright) cells. CD34+/CD111(bright) cells contain more erythroid progenitors: CFU-E, than their counterparts, which on the opposite contain more HPP-CFC. Limiting dilution analyses demonstrate a higher frequency of immature progenitors: cobblestone-area colony-forming cells, CD34+/CD111(dim) than in CD34+/CD111(bright) cells. In vitro differentiation assays demonstrate a higher frequency of B-, T- and dendritic-cell precursors, but less NK-cell precursors in CD34+/CD111(dim) cells. Evaluation of engraftment in NOD-SCID mice shows that SCID repopulating cells are more frequent among mPB CD34+/CD111(dim) cells. Liquid culture of CD34+/CD111(dim) cells with erythropoietin shows that CD111 expression increases simultaneously with CD36, following CD71 and before glycophorin A expression. In conclusion, immature human hematopoietic progenitors express low levels of CD111 on their surface. During erythroid differentiation CD34+ cells acquire higher levels of the CD111 antigen.

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