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Nat Immunol. 2007 Oct;8(10):1123-31. Epub 2007 Sep 9.

Catecholaminergic neurotransmitters regulate migration and repopulation of immature human CD34+ cells through Wnt signaling.

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Department of Immunology, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel.


Catecholamines are important regulators of homeostasis, yet their functions in hematopoiesis are poorly understood. Here we report that immature human CD34+ cells dynamically expressed dopamine and beta2-adrenergic receptors, with higher expression in the primitive CD34+CD38(lo) population. The myeloid cytokines G-CSF and GM-CSF upregulated neuronal receptor expression on immature CD34+ cells. Treatment with neurotransmitters increased the motility, proliferation and colony formation of human progenitor cells, correlating with increased polarity, expression of the metalloproteinase MT1-MMP and activity of the metalloproteinase MMP-2. Treatment with catecholamines enhanced human CD34+ cell engraftment of NOD-SCID mice through Wnt signaling activation and increased cell mobilization and bone marrow Sca-1+c-Kit+Lin- cell numbers. Our results identify new functions for neurotransmitters and myeloid cytokines in the direct regulation of human and mouse progenitor cell migration and development.

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