Short-term exposure of umbilical cord blood CD34+ cells to granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor early in culture improves ex vivo expansion of neutrophils.

PMID 20860426


Despite the availability of modern antibiotics/antimycotics and cytokine support, neutropenic infection accounts for the majority of chemotherapy-associated deaths. While transfusion support with donor neutrophils is possible, cost and complicated logistics make such an option unrealistic on a routine basis. A manufactured neutrophil product could enable routine prophylactic administration of neutrophils, preventing the onset of neutropenia and substantially reducing the risk of infection. We examined the use of pre-culture strategies and various cytokine/modulator combinations to improve neutrophil expansion from umbilical cord blood (UCB) hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HPC). Enriched UCB HPC were cultured using either two-phase pre-culture strategies or a single phase using various cytokine/modulator combinations. Outcome was assessed with respect to numerical expansion, cell morphology, granulation and respiratory burst activity. Pre-culture in the absence of strong differentiation signals (e.g. granulocyte colony-stimulating factor; G-CSF) failed to provide any improvement to final neutrophil yields. Similarly, removal of differentiating cells during pre-culture failed to improve neutrophil yields to an appreciable extent. Of the cytokine/modulator combinations, the addition of granulocyte-macrophage (GM)-colony-stimulating factor (CSF) alone gave the greatest increase. In order to avoid production of monocytes, it was necessary to remove GM-CSF on day 5. Using this strategy, neutrophil expansion improved 2.7-fold. Although all cytokines and culture strategies employed have been reported previously to enhance HPC expansion, we found that the addition of GM-CSF alone was sufficient to improve total cell yields maximally. The need to remove GM-CSF on day 5 to avoid monocyte differentiation highlights the context and time-dependent complexity of exogenous signaling in hematopoietic cell differentiation and growth.

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Tetraethylenepentamine, technical grade