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Abstract

Thrombopoietin (TPO) is the physiologic Mpl-ligand regulating platelet production. Pegylated human recombinant megakaryocyte growth and development factor (PEG-rHuMGDF), a truncated polypeptide Mpl-ligand derivitized with poly-(ethylene glycol), induces megakaryocyte endoreduplication and proliferation in vitro and in vivo. In the present study, the dose-response effects of PEG-rHuMGDF on pharmacokinetics, megakaryocytopoiesis, platelet production, and platelet function were characterized for dosing 0.05, 0.10, 0.50, or 2.5 micrograms/kg/d in 22 baboons for 28 days. Daily subcutaneous injections of PEG-rHuMGDF produced linear log-dose responses in (1) steady-state trough plasma levels of PEG-HuMGDF (P < 10(-3)); (2) marrow megakaryocyte volume (P < 10(-3)), ploidy (P <10(-4)), and number (P < .01); and (3) peripheral platelet concentrations (P < 10(- 4)) and platelet mass turnover (P < 10(-3)). Platelet morphology, life span, and recovery were normal, and peripheral leukocyte, neutrophil, and erythrocyte counts were not significantly affected by PEG-rHuMGDF (P > .1 in all cases). PEG-rHuMGDF at 0.5 micrograms/kg/d produced similar blood concentrations of Mpl-ligand and platelets as 10 times the dose of rHu-MGDF (5.0 micrograms/kg/d), reflecting the extended plasma half-life achieved through pegylation. Whereas PEG-rHuMGDF did not induce platelet aggregation in vitro, platelet aggregatory responsiveness induced by thrombin receptor agonist peptide (TRAP1–6) and collagen was transiently enhanced ex vivo during the initial few days of PEG-rHuMGDF administration. However, adenosine diphosphate (ADP)-induced platelet aggregation was not enhanced ex vivo by PEG- rHuMGDF therapy. 111In-platelet deposition on segments of homologous endarterectomized aorta (EA) and vascular graft (VG) interposed in arteriovenous femoral shunts increased in direct proportion to the circulating platelet concentration (P < 10(-4) for both EA and VG); 125l-fibrin accumulation was not affected by PEG-rHuMGDF-induced increases in peripheral platelet counts. Changes in platelet production and function produced by PEG-rHuMGDF returned to baseline within 2 weeks after discontinuing treatment. Thus, in nonhuman primates, PEG- rHuMGDF increases platelet production in a linear log-dose-dependent manner by stimulating megakaryocyte endoreduplication and new megakaryocyte formation from marrow hematopoietic progenitors. These findings suggest that appropriate dosing of PEG-rHuMGDF therapy during periods of chemotherapy-induced marrow suppression may maintain hemostatic concentrations of peripheral platelets without increasing the risk of thrombosis.