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

The Mpl-ligand or thrombopoietin or megakaryocyte growth and differentiative factor has both direct proliferative and differentiative activities on human megakaryocyte progenitors.

Previously, it was believed that megakaryocytopoiesis was regulated by two types of humoral factors: megakaryocyte colony-stimulating factor (MK-CSF), which acts on progenitors inducing their proliferation, and thrombopoietin (TPO), a megakaryocyte(s) (MK) maturational factor that induces platelet formation. The recently cloned Mpl-ligand (Mpl-L) seems to have both properties in vivo and in vitro and has also been called TPO. However, it cannot be excluded that a part of these activities is due to a synergistic effect with growth factors present in the serum or synthesized by accessory cells. To delineate the precise TPO (Mpl-L) biologic activities, we performed serum-free cultures at limiting cell dilution. Target cells were adult human marrow CD34+CD41+ cells, which represent a highly selected population of late MK progenitor or transitional cells. Cells were purified using a flow cytometer equipped with an automatic cloning design unit. We determined that the recombinant molecule had a biologic activity that reached a plateau at 10 ng/mL. At this concentration, a linear relationship between the average MK number per well and the number of cells seeded (between 1 to 50 cells per well) was observed. At one cell per well, 60% of the wells contained a single MK at day 5 of culture. Half of these wells contained only one large MK, whereas the other half contained several MK (up to 25), demonstrating that TPO has direct proliferative biologic activity. In contrast, at limiting dilution, none of the other cytokines tested (stem cell factor [SCF], interleukin-6 [IL-6], and erythropoietin [Epo]) were effective, whereas IL-3 showed a mild effect. However, a combination of SCF plus IL-6 plus IL-3 produced similar results as TPO alone. Addition of the other cytokines to TPO did not enhance the cloning efficiency of the CD34+CD41+ cells but increased twofold the average number of MKs per clone. MKs reached a ploidy of 32N and 64N in the presence of TPO. The mean ploidy value was approximately 6 and was not modified by addition of the other cytokines. At the ultrastructural level, a majority of the MKs showed maturational defects related to an imbalance between the synthesis of alpha-granules and demarcation membranes. However, a fraction (about 30%) had a cytoplasmic maturation that exactly mimicked that of marrow MKs. In addition, proplatelet-shedding MKs were observed in the cultures, even at limiting dilution. Such a result was not observed with any other individual cytokines, including the combination of three cytokines.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)[1]


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