(Introduction) Aplastic anemia (AA) is characterized by peripheral pancytopenia and fatty bone marrow. An immunological attack to hematopoietic stem cells has been thought to be responsible for the development of the disease. Previously, we reported the expression of transcription factor GATA-2 is significantly decreased in CD34 positive cells in AA. Together with the phenotypes of hematopoietic stem cells in GATA-2 hetero-knockout mice, GATA-2 down-regulation may play a role in the reduction of a stem cell pool observed in AA. On the other hand, GATA-2 has been shown to be essential for the maintenance of immaturity of preadipocytes. If a pathological immune response in AA decreases the level of GATA-2 expression in not only hematopoietic stem cells but also stromal preadipocytes, it may accelerate the maturation of preadipocytes, leading to the formation of fatty bone marrow. To explore this possibility, the phenotypic change of stromal preadipocytes by suppression of GATA-2 was examined in this study.
(Method) The GATA-2 expression level was suppressed by using siRNA for GATA-2 in mouse stromal preadipocyte cell lines, TBR9 and TBR343. After the treatment with siRNA, the adipocyte differentiation was induced by the incubation with insulin and dexamethasone for 7days. Then, the maturation level was examined by oil drops formation judged by oil red staining, and by the expression level of adipcin and PPAR-γ mRNA. Supporting activity of hematopoietic colony formation was also evaluated by using mouse fetal liver cells after siRNA treatment.
(Results) By using designed siRNA, the GATA-2 expression was suppressed to 30% of control, whereas the expression level of GATA-3, which is co-expressed in preadipocytes, was unchanged. When GATA-2 was suppressed by siRNA, the oil drop formation and adipocyte-specific gene expression was significantly accelerated in both of stromal cells. Furthermore, the number of fetal liver hematopoetic colonies was significantly decreased by suppression of GATA-2, suggesting that GATA-2 down-regulation in stromal preadipocytes results in not only the acceleration of the maturation but also the reduced supporting activity of hematopoietic colony formation
(Conclusion) These results suggest that suppression of GATA-2 in hematopoietic tissues induces the characteristic features of AA, i.e., decreased the number of hematopoietic stem cells and increased number of mature adipocytes.