Flt3 ligand can promote survival and macrophage development without proliferation in myeloid progenitor cells

Sian E. Nicholls, Sandra Winter, Rachel Mottram, Jaleel A. Miyan, Anthony D. Whetton

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    Flt3 ligand elicits a variety of effects on early hemopoietic progenitors by occupying its cognate receptor, Flt3, a member of the type III tyrosine kinase receptor family. The cytokines macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF) and stem cell factor (SCF) bind to related members of this tyrosine kinase receptors family, c-fms and c-kit, respectively. The relative effects of the cytokines M-CSF, SCF, and Flt3L on the proliferation and development of the late myeloid progenitors granulocyte-macrophage colony- forming cells (GM-CFC) were investigated. Distinct biologic responses were stimulated by ligand binding to these different tyrosine kinase receptors in enriched GM-CFC. M-CSF stimulated GM-CFC to proliferate and develop into macrophages. SCF, on the other hand, stimulated GM-CFC to develop into neutrophils. Flt3 ligand had a relatively small proliferative effect on enriched GM-CFC compared to SCF and M-CSF and had no ability to either stimulate colony formation or synergize with these two cytokines in promoting DNA synthesis, colony formation, or expansion in liquid culture. Flt3 ligand, however, was capable of maintaining the clonogenic potential of GM-CFC and acted as an anti-apoptotic agent as assessed using the Annexin-V apoptosis assay. GM-CFC cultured in Flt3 ligand eventually formed macrophages and neutrophils in liquid culture. Labeling with the membrane-associated cell tracker dye PKH26 indicated that the majority of the enriched GM-CFC responded to Flt3 ligand by undergoing limited proliferation and macrophage development, whereas other cells survived but did not proliferate and differentiate into macrophages. Thus, Flt3 ligand promoted survival and stimulated development without proliferation in primary-enriched myeloid progenitor cells.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)663-672
    Number of pages9
    JournalExperimental Hematology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 1999


    • Apoptosis
    • Differentiation
    • Flt3
    • Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor


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