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Haematologica. 2008 Mar;93(3):347-55. doi: 10.3324/haematol.12081. Epub 2008 Feb 11.

Pegylated granulocyte colony-stimulating factor mobilizes CD34+ cells with different stem and progenitor subsets and distinct functional properties in comparison with unconjugated granulocyte colony-stimulating factor.

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Dept. of Hematology, Oncology and Clinical Immunology, Heinrich-Heine-University. Moorenstr. 5, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany.



Pegylated granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) has recently been introduced as a new compound for mobilization of CD34(+) hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. In this study, we compared the molecular and functional characteristics of CD34(+) cells mobilized by pegylated G-CSF with those mobilized by unconjugated G-CSF.


Gene expression of immunomagnetically enriched CD34(+) cells from leukapheresis products of patients who were given pegylated-G-CSF or unconjugated G-CSF was analyzed using Affymetrix HG Focus microarrays and quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. Flow cytometry and fluorescence activated cell sorting was conducted to assess the CD34(+) subset composition and to obtain Lin(-), CD34(+), CD38(-) hematopoietic stem cells. Cell cycle assays and clonogenic assays were performed for functional corroboration.


Pegylated G-CSF and unconjugated G-CSF mobilized CD34(+) and hematopoietic stem cells with different molecular phenotypes and functional properties. The CD34(+) cells mobilized by pegylated G-CSF had higher expression levels of genes indicative of early hematopoiesis, including HOXA9, MEIS1 and GATA3. We found lower expression of genes characteristic of erythroid and later stages of myeloid differentiation and a lower functional burst-forming unit erythroid/colony-forming unit-granulocyte-macrophage ratio. Consistently, greater numbers of hematopoietic stem cells and common myeloid progenitors and fewer megakaryocyte-erthrocyte progenitors were found in the pegylated-G-CSF-mobilized CD34(+) cells. Additionally, sorted pegylated-G-CSF-mobilized hematopoietic stem cells displayed higher expression of HOXA9 in comparison to G-CSF-mobilized hematopoietic stem cells. In line with the gene expression data, CD34(+) cells mobilized by pegylated G-CSF, as well as sorted hematopoietic stem cells, showed a significantly greater cell cycle activity.


Stimulation with pegylated-G-CSF or G-CSF results in different expression of key regulatory genes and different functional properties of mobilized hematopoietic stem cells as well as their progeny, a finding that might be relevant for the application of these cells in blood stem cell transplantation.

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