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Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) is a bifunctional regulator of the growth of myeloid progenitors and is here demonstrated to directly inhibit the growth of primitive erythroid progenitors by 95% to 100% regardless of the cytokines stimulating growth. Autocrine TGF-beta production of primitive hematopoietic progenitors has previously been reported. In the present study, a neutralizing TGF-beta antibody (anti-TGF-beta) added to serum-containing cultures, resulted in a 3-, 4-, and 25-fold increase in burst-forming unit erythroid (BFU-E) colony formation in response to interleukin-4 (IL-4) plus erythropoietin (Epo), SCF plus Epo, and IL-11 plus Epo, respectively. The growth of BFU-E progenitors has been suggested to require a burst-promoting activity in addition to Epo. Accordingly, we observed no BFU-E colony formation in serum-containing cultures in response to Epo alone. In contrast, 50 BFU-E colonies were formed when anti-TGF-beta was included in the culture. In serum-free cultures, Epo also stimulated BFU-E colony formation in the absence of other cytokines, whereas anti-TGF-beta had no effect on the number of colonies formed. Quantitation of TGF-beta 1 in serum by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay method showed predominantly the presence of precursor (latent) TGF-beta 1, but also showed active TGF-beta 1 at a concentration sufficient to potently inhibit erythroid colony formation. Thus, neutralization of active TGF-beta 1 in serum shows that Epo alone is sufficient to stimulate the growth of murine BFU-E progenitors.


Journal article



Publication Date





949 - 957


Animals, Antigen-Antibody Reactions, Bone Marrow Cells, Culture Media, Erythropoiesis, Erythropoietin, Granulocytes, Hematopoiesis, Hematopoietic Cell Growth Factors, Macrophages, Mice, Stem Cell Factor, Transforming Growth Factor beta