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Blood. 2004 Jun 1;103(11):4070-7. Epub 2004 Feb 12.

Effect of chronic cytokine therapy on clonal dynamics in nonhuman primates.

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Molecular Hematopoiesis Section, Hematology Branch, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Hematopoietic cytokines such as filgrastim are used extensively to stimulate granulocyte production or to mobilize hematopoietic progenitors into the circulation; however, their effect on more primitive hematopoietic progenitor and stem cells in vivo is unknown, particularly in large animals or humans. In particular, there is concern that chronic therapy with cytokines could result in stem cell exhaustion or clonal dominance; however, direct assessment of the dynamics of individual stem and progenitor cell clones in vivo has not been previously reported. A number of models can be proposed regarding the mechanisms by which the marrow responds to cytokine stimulation, including recruitment of previously quiescent clones, stimulation of proliferation of already active clones, or prevention of apoptosis of more mature progenitors from all clones. Using retroviral marking and comprehensive insertion site tracking of individual stem and progenitor cell clones in 2 rhesus macaques, we analyzed the effect of chronic administration of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), or a combination of G-CSF plus stem cell factor (SCF). The overall number of contributing clones remained constant, and the relative output from each clone did not change significantly during or following cytokine treatments. These results suggest that individual transduced stem or progenitor cells can contribute to hematopoiesis for prolonged periods, with no evidence for an effect of G-CSF or G-CSF/SCF on the number, the lifespan, or the relative activity of individual stem or progenitor cell clones. These relevant large animal studies are reassuring regarding clinical applications of cytokines and provide new insights into their mechanisms of action.

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