Blood Journal
Leading the way in experimental and clinical research in hematology

Differentiation and proliferation of hematopoietic stem cells

  1. M Ogawa
  1. Ralph H. Johnson Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Charleston, SC 29401'5799.


Available evidence indicates that qualitative changes in hematopoietic stem cells and progenitors, such as the decision of stem cells to self- renew or differentiate, or selection of lineage potentials by the multipotential progenitors during differentiation (commitment), are intrinsic properties of the progenitors and are stochastic in nature. In-contrast, proliferative kinetics of the progenitors, namely survival and expansion of the progenitors, appear to be controlled by a number of interacting cytokines. While proliferation and maturation of committed progenitors is controlled by late-acting lineage-specific factors such as Ep, M-CSF, G-CSF, and IL-5, progenitors at earlier stages of development are controlled by a group of several overlapping cytokines. IL-3, GM-CSF, and IL-4 regulate proliferation of multipotential progenitors only after they exit from G0 and begin active cell proliferation. Triggering of cycling by dormant primitive progenitors and maintenance of B-cell potential of the primitive progenitors appears to require interactions of early acting cytokines including IL-6, G-CSF, IL-11, IL-12, LIF, and SF. Currently, this simple model fits our understanding of the interactions of growth factors with hematopoietic progenitors. Naturally the model risks oversimplification of a very complex process. However, because the model is testable, it will hopefully challenge investigators to design new experiments to examine its validity.