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J Cell Physiol. 1987 Sep;132(3):571-7.

Retrovirus-induced feline pure red cell aplasia: the kinetics of erythroid marrow failure.

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Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle 98195.


Cats viremic with feline leukemia virus subgroup C (FeLV-C) develop pure red cell aplasia (PRCA) characterized by the loss of detectable late erythroid progenitors (CFU-E) in marrow culture. Normal numbers of early erythroid progenitors (BFU-E) and granulocyte-macrophage progenitors (CFU-GM) remain, suggesting that the maturation of BFU-E to CFU-E is impaired in vivo. We have examined the cell cycle kinetics of BFU-E and their response to hematopoietic growth factor(s) to better characterize erythropoiesis as anemia develops. Within 3 weeks of FeLV-C infection, yet 6-42 weeks before anemia, the traction of BFU-E in DNA synthesis as determined by tritiated thymidine suicide increased to 43 +/- 4% (normal 23 +/- 2%) while there was no change in the cell cycle kinetics of CFU-GM. In additional studies, we evaluated the response of marrow to the hematopoietic growth factor(s) present in medium conditioned by FeLV-infected feline embryonic fibroblasts (FEA/FeLV CM). With cells from normal cats or cats viremic with FeLV-C but not anemic, a 4-fold increase in erythroid bursts was seen in cultures with 5% FEA/FeLV CM when compared to cultures without CM. However, just prior to the onset of anemia, when the numbers of detectable CFU-E decreased, BFU-E no longer responded to FEA/FeLV CM in vitro. BFU-E from anemic cats also required 10% cat or human serum for optimal in vitro growth. These altered kinetics and in vitro growth characteristics may relate to the in vivo block of BFU-E differentiation and PRCA. Finally, when marrow from cats with PRCA was placed in suspension culture for 2 to 4 days in the presence of cat serum and CM, the numbers of BFU-E increased 2- to 4-fold although no CFU-E were generated. By 4 to 7 days, CFU-E were detected, suggesting that conditions contributing to the block of erythroid maturation did not persist. The suspension culture technique provides an approach to study further the defect in erythroid differentiation characteristic of feline PRCA.

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