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Blood. 1991 Nov 15;78(10):2493-7.

Human burst-forming units-erythroid need direct interaction with stem cell factor for further development.

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Department of Medicine, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Nashville, TN.


To understand the factors that regulate the early growth and development of immature erythroid progenitor cells, the burst-forming units-erythroid (BFU-E), it is necessary to have both highly purified target cells and a medium free of serum. When highly purified human blood BFU-E were cultured in a serum-free medium adequate for the growth of later erythroid progenitors, BFU-E would not grow even with the addition of recombinant human interleukin-3 (rIL-3), known to be essential for these cells. However, the addition of recombinant human stem cell factor (rSCF), which supports germ cell and pluripotential stem cell growth, stimulated BFU-E to grow equally well in serum-free as in serum-containing medium. Limiting dilution studies showed that rSCF acts directly on the BFU-E that do not require accessory cells for growth. Furthermore, rSCF was necessary for BFU-E development during the initial 7 days of culture, until these cells reached the stage of the late progenitors, the colony-forming units-erythroid (CFU-E). These studies indicate that early erythropoiesis is dependent on the direct action of SCF that not only affects early stem cells but is continually necessary for the further development of committed erythroid progenitor cells until the CFU-E stage of maturation.

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