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Blood. 1992 Nov 1;80(9):2230-6.

Stem cell factor directly stimulates the development of enriched granulocyte-macrophage colony-forming cells and promotes the effects of other colony-stimulating factors.

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Cancer Research Campaign Department of Experimental Haematology, Paterson Institute for Cancer Research, Christie Hospital NHS Trust, Manchester, UK.


The effects of the c-kit ligand (stem cell factor [SCF]) on the development of a highly enriched population of granulocyte-macrophage colony-forming cells (GM-CFC) were assessed. In soft agar assays, both in serum-containing and in serum-deprived cultures, SCF promoted the formation of colonies that contained predominantly granulocytic cells with some blast cells also present. The size of these colonies was far smaller than observed in the presence of interleukin-3 (IL-3). In serum-deprived conditions, no colonies were formed in the presence of macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF), but when M-CSF was combined with SCF, a marked change was noted in that large colonies were produced containing predominantly macrophages. When GM-CFC were cultured in the presence of IL-3 and SCF, colonies were formed that contained blast cells, granulocytes, and macrophages. A synergistic interaction was also seen using a combination of G-CSF plus SCF in either serum-containing or serum-deprived cultures. The addition of SCF to colony-forming assays markedly reduced the concentration of IL-3 or G-CSF required for optimal levels of colony formation. Furthermore, SCF was capable of promoting the survival of GM-CFC for several days, after which large colonies containing mature cells were formed upon the addition of a secondary growth factor such as G-CSF or IL-3. Thus, SCF can directly act on highly enriched committed progenitor cells in serum-deprived conditions to promote survival, proliferation, and development.

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