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Blood. 1995 Dec 1;86(11):4091-6.

Plasma/serum levels of flt3 ligand are low in normal individuals and highly elevated in patients with Fanconi anemia and acquired aplastic anemia.

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Immunex Corporation, Seattle, WA 98101, USA.


The flt3 ligand is a growth factor that stimulates the proliferation of hematopoietic progenitor and stem cells. We established a sensitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to measure the concentration of flt3 ligand in plasma or serum from normal individuals, as well as in patients with hematopoietic disorders. Concentrations of flt3 ligand in plasma or serum from normal individuals were quite low: only 12% (7 of 60) of normal individuals had flt3 ligand levels above 100 pg/mL (the limit of detection). In contrast, 86% (19 of 22) of samples from patients with Fanconi anemia and 100% (eight of eight) of samples from patients with acquired aplastic anemia had plasma or serum levels above 100 pg/mL. Mean plasma or serum concentrations (calculated by assigning a value of 0 pg/mL to any sample reading below the level of detection) were as follows: normal volunteers, 14 pg/mL; patients with Fanconi anemia, 1,331 pg/mL; and patients with acquired aplastic anemia, 460 pg/mL. Concentrations of flt3 ligand in blood are, therefore, specifically elevated to a level that may be physiologically relevant in hematopoietic disorders with a suspected stem cell component. The elevated flt3 ligand concentrations in these individuals may be part of a compensatory hematopoietic response to boost the level of progenitor cells.

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