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Blood. 2014 Dec 11;124(25):3699-708. doi: 10.1182/blood-2014-01-549527. Epub 2014 Oct 23.

IFN-γ causes aplastic anemia by altering hematopoietic stem/progenitor cell composition and disrupting lineage differentiation.

Author information

Cancer and Inflammation Program, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, MD;
Laboratory of Animal Science, Leidos Biomedical Research Inc., Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, Frederick, MD; and.
Hematopoiesis and Stem Cell Biology Section, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, MD.


Aplastic anemia (AA) is characterized by hypocellular marrow and peripheral pancytopenia. Because interferon gamma (IFN-γ) can be detected in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of AA patients, it has been hypothesized that autoreactive T lymphocytes may be involved in destroying the hematopoietic stem cells. We have observed AA-like symptoms in our IFN-γ adenylate-uridylate-rich element (ARE)-deleted (del) mice, which constitutively express a low level of IFN-γ under normal physiologic conditions. Because no T-cell autoimmunity was observed, we hypothesized that IFN-γ may be directly involved in the pathophysiology of AA. In these mice, we did not detect infiltration of T cells in bone marrow (BM), and the existing T cells seemed to be hyporesponsive. We observed inhibition in myeloid progenitor differentiation despite an increase in serum levels of cytokines involved in hematopoietic differentiation and maturation. Furthermore, there was a disruption in erythropoiesis and B-cell differentiation. The same phenomena were also observed in wild-type recipients of IFN-γ ARE-del BM. The data suggest that AA occurs when IFN-γ inhibits the generation of myeloid progenitors and prevents lineage differentiation, as opposed to infiltration of activated T cells. These results may be useful in improving treatment as well as maintaining a disease-free status.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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