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Blood. 1995 Jun 15;85(12):3538-46.

Lymphokine requirement for the generation of natural killer cells from CD34+ hematopoietic progenitor cells.

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Division of Hematology, University of Tsukuba, Japan.


We have established a cell culture system without stromal cells that allows the CD34+ hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPC) to differentiate into natural killer (NK) cells. CD34+Lin (CD3, CD16, CD56)- cells were purified using fluorescence-activated cell sorting from normal adult bone marrow (BM) and cultured for 28 days in medium supplemented with interleukin-2 (IL-2) and stem cell factor (SCF). NK (CD3-CD16-CD56+) cells were generated in a dose-dependent manner in response to SCF. NK cells originated from CD34+CD33+Lin- cells, but they were barely detectable in cultures of CD34+CD33-Lin- cells. However, on addition of IL-3, an induced differentiation of NK cells from CD34+CD33-Lin- cells was observed, although at a lower frequency. Supplementing of the cell cultures with SCF alone or both SCF and IL-3 for the first 7 days followed by IL-2 for the next 21 days is essential for production of NK cells from CD34+CD33+Lin- cells and from CD34+CD33-Lin- cells, respectively. These data provide direct evidence that NK cells arise from CD34+HPC and show the minimum lymphokine requirement for their differentiation.

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