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The recently cloned fIt3 ligand (FL) potently enhances hemopoietic growth factor-induced growth of primitive hemopoietic progenitors. In agreement with previous reports, we found FL alone to be a weak mitogen for primitive Lin-Sca-1+ murine bone marrow progenitors. Using delayed addition of growth-promoting cytokines, we demonstrate that FL potently promotes the in vitro survival of Lin-Sca-1+ progenitors responsive to a potent myeloid growth factor combination (FL, stem cell factor (SCF), granulocyte CSF (G-CSF), and IL-1 alpha). Whereas no such progenitors survived in cultures supplemented with medium alone, 33% survived in FL compared with 75 and 13% in the presence of SCF and IL-1 alpha, respectively. These results were obtained when cells were plated individually, suggesting that the viability-promoting effect of FL is mediated directly on the progenitors. Whereas SCF was superior to FL in promoting the survival of FL-, SCF-, G-CSF-, and IL-1 alpha-stimulated Lin-Sca-1+ progenitors, FL was more efficient than SCF at promoting the survival of progenitors with a B cell potential, as measured by their ability to produce B220+ cells in response to delayed addition of FL, SCF, and IL-7. Seventy-one percent of the B220+ cell production could be recovered following 40-h incubation with FL compared with 2% in response to SCF. Analysis of day 12 spleen CFU content after 40-h preincubation of Lin-Sca-1+ cells in FL or SCF demonstrated that SCF maintained 64% of the day 12 spleen CFU, whereas only 16% survived in the presence of FL. Finally, there was no significant difference between the ability of FL and SCF to maintain the viability of long-term culture-initiating cells (25 and 32%, respectively). The ability of FL to promote the survival of Lin-Sca-1+ progenitor cells was reflected by the finding that FL also suppressed apoptosis. Finally, TGF-beta abrogated and TNF-alpha potently counteracted the survival-promoting effect of FL. Thus, FL promotes the survival of primitive hemopoietic progenitor cells, in particular those with an inherent B lymphoid potential.


Journal article


J Immunol

Publication Date





2953 - 2960


Animals, Apoptosis, B-Lymphocytes, Cell Division, Cell Lineage, Cell Survival, Colony-Forming Units Assay, Drug Synergism, Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor, Hematopoiesis, Hematopoietic Cell Growth Factors, Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation, Hematopoietic Stem Cells, Humans, Interleukin-1, Interleukin-7, Membrane Proteins, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Proto-Oncogene Proteins, Radiation Chimera, Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases, Recombinant Proteins, Stem Cell Factor, fms-Like Tyrosine Kinase 3