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Blood. 1997 Jul 15;90(2):620-9.

In vivo effects of Flt3/Flk2 ligand on mobilization of hematopoietic progenitors in primates and potent synergistic enhancement with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor.

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Department of Biological Structure, University of Washington, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle 98195, USA.


The Flt3 receptor is expressed in primitive hematopoietic cells and its ligand exerts proliferative effects on these cells in vitro in synergy with other cytokines. To expand on the functional properties of Flt3 ligand (FL) in vivo we treated nonhuman primates with FL and tested its ability to mobilize stem/progenitor cells when given alone or in combination with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) treatment. FL alone (200 microg/kg/day) mobilizes progenitors with slow kinetics and with a peak effect at the end of 2 weeks of treatment. The spectrum of mobilized progenitors includes myeloid, lymphoid, megakaryocytic, and osteoclastogenic but a low proportion of burst-forming unit (BFU)e. Bone marrow (BM) studies before and during the treatment suggested that proliferative effects in BM may have preceded effects on peripheral blood mobilization. To assess the synergy of FL with G-CSF in mobilization of progenitors we used two schemes: one in which G-CSF was used for the last 5 days of a 12-day treatment with FL; the other in which both cytokines were given concurrently for 5 days only (FL, 200 microg/kg; G-CSF, 100 microg/kg). Both schemes yielded much higher progenitor mobilization levels (peak levels of colony-forming cells [CFSs] 41,000 to 95,000/mL blood) than observed with either FL (CFC 4,600 to 7,300/mL) or G-CSF (8,405 +/- 3,024/ mL) used alone at the same doses. Furthermore, there was a progressive and significant expansion of progenitors in vitro during 2 weeks in suspension cultures of mononuclear cells or of CD34+ cells only in the animal with the combined treatment. Likewise, substantial mobilization of osteoclastogenic progenitors was documented only with the combined treatment. Given the functional properties of FL, its synergistic mobilization with G-CSF, and its anticipated good tolerance (because of the absence of an effect on mast cell activation), a clinical use is projected for this cytokine in peripheral blood transplantation settings, as well as in experiments with ex vivo gene transfer.

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