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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Mar 31;95(7):3862-6.

An X chromosome gene regulates hematopoietic stem cell kinetics.

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Division of Hematology, University of Washington, 1959 Northeast Pacific Street, Box 357710, Seattle, WA 98195-7710, USA.


Females are natural mosaics for X chromosome-linked genes. As X chromosome inactivation occurs randomly, the ratio of parental phenotypes among blood cells is approximately 1:1. Recently, however, ratios of greater than 3:1 have been observed in 38-56% of women over age 60. This could result from a depletion of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) with aging (and the maintenance of hematopoiesis by a few residual clones) or from myelodysplasia (the dominance of a neoplastic clone). Each possibility has major implications for chemotherapy and for transplantation in elderly patients. We report similar findings in longitudinal studies of female Safari cats and demonstrate that the excessive skewing that develops with aging results from a third mechanism that has no pathologic consequence, hemizygous selection. We show that there is a competitive advantage for all HSCs with a specific X chromosome phenotype and, thus, demonstrate that an X chromosome gene (or genes) regulates HSC replication, differentiation, and/or survival.

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