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Hematopoietic Cytokines

By: Jennifer Fries, BioFiles 2009, 4.5, 8.

Numerous cytokines are involved in the regulation of hematopoiesis within a complex network of positive and negative regulators. Some cytokines have very narrow lineage specificities of their actions, while many others have rather broad and overlapping specificity ranges. Listed within this section include the cytokines whose predominant action appears to be the stimulation or regulation of hematopoietic cells. The term “colony stimulating factor’’ (CSF) was a designation originally given to agents discovered to stimulate growth of colonies containing differentiated myeloid cells from single bone marrow-derived precursor cells plated in semisolid medium. The glycoproteins considered to be CSFs include granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF), granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF), macrophage colony stimulating factor (M-CSF), interleukin-3 (multi-CSF or IL-3), interleukin-5 (IL-5), erythropoietin (EPO),1 and thrombopoietin (TPO).2

A number of other cytokines exert profound effects on the formation and maturation of hematopoietic cells, with most of these belonging to the structural class known as the “4-α-helical bundle’’ family of cytokines,3 which include stem cell factor (SCF), flt-3/flk-2 Ligand (FL) and leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF). Other cytokines or ligands, such as jagged-1, transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) also play significant roles in modulating hematopoiesis. Descriptions and listings of IL-3, IL-5, TGF-β and TNF-α products are listed in other sections by name.

This image shows cells derived from the culture of neural stem cells grown in the presence of EGF (Cat. No. E9644) and LIF (Cat. No. L5283). The cells were expanded in neural stem cell expansion medium (Cat. No. S3194) and then moved to conditions to allow them to differentiate.

This photo shows differentiated cells fixed and stained with an antibody for β3 tubulin (neural marker in green, Cat. No. T8660). Actin is labeled with TRITC phalloidin (Cat. No. P1951) and the nuclei are labeled with DAPI (Cat. No. D8417).

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  1. Brugger, W., et al., Clinical role of colony stimulating factors. Acta Haematol., 86, 138-147 (1991).
  2. Lok, S., and Foster, D., The structure, biology and potential therapeutic applications of recombinant thrombopoietin. Stem Cells, 12, 586-598 (1994).
  3. Nicola, N., An introduction to the cytokines, in Guidebook to Cytokines and Their Receptors, Nicola, N., ed., Oxford Press (New York, N.Y.: 1994), pp. 1-7.

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