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It has been demonstrated recently that in vivo administration of murine IL-12 to mice enhances the activity of cytotoxic NK cells and lymphocyte-activated killer cells, and that it has antitumor and antimetastatic activity. However, one side effect observed in response to systemic IL-12 treatment is anemia. In the present study, we examined for the first time the ability of IL-12 to affect directly the growth of murine erythroid progenitor cells in vitro. Whereas IL-12 alone or in combination with Erythropoietin (Epo) showed no stimulatory effect on erythroid progenitors, IL-12 potently enhanced the number of erythroid burst-forming unit (BFU-E) colonies formed in response to Epo+IL-4 by 63% and Epo+stem cell factor by 80%. The stimulatory effect of IL-12 occurred in a concentration-dependent fashion, with maximum enhancing effect observed at 50 ng/ml. Furthermore, single cell experiments suggested that the stimulatory effect of IL-12 on erythroid colony formation was directly mediated. Thus, IL-12 can directly enhance murine erythropoiesis in vitro, suggesting that IL-12-induced anemia is mediated through an indirect mechanism.


Journal article


J Immunol

Publication Date





4950 - 4955


Animals, Cell Differentiation, Cells, Cultured, Erythroid Precursor Cells, Erythropoiesis, Hematopoietic Cell Growth Factors, Interferon-gamma, Interleukin-12, Interleukin-4, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Recombinant Proteins, Stem Cell Factor, Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha