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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Hypersensitivity of circulating progenitor cells to megakaryocyte growth and development factor (PEG-rHu MGDF) in essential thrombocythemia.

Hematopoietic progenitor cells in 2 myeloproliferative disorders, juvenile chronic myelomonocytic leukemia and polycythemia vera, are known to be hypersensitive to cytokines that control normal progenitor cell proliferation, differentiation, and survival in their respective granulocyte/macrophage and erythroid lineages. Because thrombopoietin controls these functions in the normal megakaryocytic lineage, we asked the question: Are megakaryocytic progenitor cells in the myeloproliferative disorder essential thrombocythemia (ET) hypersensitive to thrombopoietin? Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients with ET, or secondary (reactive) thrombocytosis (2 degrees T), or healthy volunteers were grown in strictly serum-free agarose culture containing interleukin 3 (IL-3) and all-trans-retinoic acid, with various concentrations of PEG-rHu megakaryocyte growth and development factor (MGDF). The concentration of cytokine at half-maximum colony number served as a measure of progenitor cell sensitivity. Hypersensitivity to PEG-rHu MGDF was found in circulating progenitors from 18 of 20 (90%) informative patients with presumptive diagnosis ET, 1 of 8 (12.5%) 2 degrees T patients, and none of the 22 healthy volunteers. Median MGDF sensitivity ratio in ET patients was approximately 53 times greater than in the controls. This hypersensitivity, which was also directed to rHu thrombopoietin, was highly specific with respect to cytokine, disease, and cell lineage. We propose that, despite their single pluripotential cell origin, the different clinicopathologic phenotypes in different chronic myeloproliferative disorders are determined by lineage-restricted hypersensitivities of hematopoietic progenitor cells to endogenous cytokines. This work emphasizes the importance of stringent serum-free conditions for revealing true sensitivities to cytokines. The findings also offer a basis for evolving a positive test for ET, a diagnosis now made essentially by exclusion.[1]


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