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Br J Haematol. 2014 Apr;165(2):259-68. doi: 10.1111/bjh.12772. Epub 2014 Feb 6.

Thrombopoietin from beginning to end.

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Department of Medicine, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, USA.


In the two decades since its cloning, thrombopoietin (TPO) has emerged not only as a critical haematopoietic cytokine, but also serves as a great example of bench-to-bedside research. Thrombopoietin, produced by the liver, is the primary regulator of megakaryocyte progenitor expansion and differentiation. Additionally, as TPO is vital for the maintenance of haematopoietic stem cells, it can truly be described as a pan-haematopoietic cytokine. Since recombinant TPO became available, the molecular mechanisms of TPO function have been the subject of extensive research. Via its receptor, c-Mpl (also termed MPL), TPO activates a wide array of downstream signalling pathways, promoting cellular survival and proliferation. Due to its central, non-redundant role in haematopoiesis, alterations of both the hormone and its receptor contribute to human disease; congenital and acquired states of thrombocytosis and thrombocytopenia and aplastic anaemia as a result from dysregulated TPO expression or functional alterations of c-Mpl. With TPO mimetics now in clinical use, the story of this haematopoietic cytokine represents a great success for biomedical research.


megakaryocytes; megakaryocytopoiesis; myeloproliferative disease; thrombopoeitin

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