Scientific reports

A late-lineage murine neutrophil precursor population exhibits dynamic changes during demand-adapted granulopoiesis.

PMID 28059162


Homeostasis of neutrophils-the blood cells that respond first to infection and tissue injury-is critical for the regulation of immune responses and regulated through granulopoiesis, a multi-stage process by which neutrophils differentiate from hematopoietic stem cells. Granulopoiesis is a highly dynamic process and altered in certain clinical conditions, such as pathologic and iatrogenic neutropenia, described as demand-adapted granulopoiesis. The regulation of granulopoiesis under stress is not completely understood because studies of granulopoiesis dynamics have been hampered by technical limitations in defining neutrophil precursors. Here, we define a population of neutrophil precursor cells in the bone marrow with unprecedented purity, characterized by the lineage(-)CD11b(+)Ly6G(lo)Ly6B(int)CD115(-), which we call NeuPs (Neutrophil Precursors). We demonstrated that NeuPs differentiate into mature and functional neutrophils both in vitro and in vivo. By analyzing the gene expression profiles of NeuPs, we also identified NeuP stage-specific genes and characterized patterns of gene regulation throughout granulopoiesis. Importantly, we found that NeuPs have the potential to proliferate, but the proliferation decreased in multiple different hematopoietic stress settings, indicating that proliferating NeuPs are poised at a critical step to regulate granulopoiesis. Our findings will facilitate understanding how the hematopoietic system maintains homeostasis and copes with the demands of granulopoiesis.