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Blood. 1996 Sep 1;88(5):1594-607.

Expression and function of receptors for stem cell factor and erythropoietin during lineage commitment of human hematopoietic progenitor cells.

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Becton Dickinson Immunocytometry Systems, San Jose, CA 95131-1807, USA.


The aim of the present study was to determine whether stem cell factor (SCF) and erythropoietin (EPO) act differently on defined subsets of progenitor cells, and if potential differences correlate with the receptor density on each subset. To investigate this possibility directly, we optimized conditions for the identification and purification of homogeneous progenitor cell subpopulations from human bone marrow. Populations containing 40% and 44% colony forming cells (CFCs) with 99% and 95% purity for the granulomonocytic and erythroid lineage, respectively, were sorted on the basis of differential expression of CD34, CD64, and CD71. In addition, a population containing 67% CFCs, of which 29-43% were CFU-MIX, was sorted from CD34hi CD38loCD50+ cells. Purified progenitor cell subsets were compared directly for responsiveness to SCF and EPO using a short-term proliferation assay. Expression of the receptors for SCF and EPO were then examined on each subset using a flow cytometer modified for high-sensitivity fluorescence measurements. The results show that EPO induces extensive proliferation of erythroid progenitor cells, but has no effect on the proliferation or survival of primitive or granulomonocytic progenitors, even when used in combination with other cytokines. The majority of erythroid progenitor cells furthermore stained positively with anti-EPO receptor (EPO-R) monoclonal antibodies, whereas other progenitor cells were negative. SCF alone induced extensive proliferation of erythroid progenitor cells, and had a stronger synergistic effect on primitive than on granulo-monocytic progenitors. In spite of these differences in SCF activity, there were no significant differences in SCF-R expression between the progenitor subsets. These results suggest that the selective action of EPO on erythropoiesis is determined by lineage-restricted receptor expression, whereas there are additional cell-type specific factors that influence progenitor cell responses to SCF.

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