Mobilization of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell subpopulations from the marrow to the blood of mice following cyclophosphamide and/or granulocyte colony-stimulating factor

S Neben, K Marcus and P Mauch


Committed progenitor cells and primitive stem cells mediate early and sustained engraftment, respectively, after lethal irradiation and stem cell transplantation. Peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC) from unstimulated mice are deficient in both cell types. To study techniques to mobilize both progenitor cells and primitive stem cells from the marrow to the blood, we collected peripheral blood from C57BL/6 mice 6 to 7 days after a single dose of cyclophosphamide (CY; 200 mg/kg intraperitoneally), after recombinant human granulocyte colony- stimulating factor (rhG-CSF) (250 micrograms/kg/d twice per day subcutaneously for 4 days), or after CY followed by G-CSF. Significant increases in white blood cell counts (1.6- to 2.7-fold) and circulating day 8 colony-forming unit spleen (CFU-S) (11- to 36-fold) were seen with all three mobilization methods compared with unstimulated control mice. Transplantation of mobilized blood stem cells into lethally irradiated hosts decreased the time to erythroid engraftment. Blood stem cells were analyzed for primitive stem cell content by Rs, an assay for CFU-S self-renewal, and competitive repopulation index (CRI), an assay of long-term repopulating ability. The primitive stem cell content of unstimulated blood was clearly deficient, but was significantly increased following mobilization, approaching normal bone marrow levels. These results were confirmed by an in vitro limiting dilution long-term culture assay that measures the frequency of progenitor cells and primitive stem cells. Mobilization following CY + G-CSF was accompanied by a marked loss of both progenitor cells and primitive stem cells in the marrow. In contrast, following G-CSF alone the progenitor cell and primitive stem cell content of the marrow was unchanged. Stem cell mobilization following CY + G-CSF was not affected by previous exposure of donors to cytosine arabinoside or cyclophosphamide, but was significantly reduced by previous exposure to busulfan. These data show that stem cell content in the blood may reach near-normal marrow levels after mobilization, the mobilization from the marrow to the blood is temporary and reversible, the specific technique used may mobilize different subpopulations of stem cells, and the type of prior chemotherapy may influence the ability to mobilize stem cells into the blood.