The identification of soluble factors involved in stem cell renewal is a major goal in the assessment of the BM niche. We have previously shown that human endothelial cell (EC) supernatants can induce the proliferation of hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs), especially after stimulation with IL-1b. To identify new potential growth factors, we compared the expression profile of IL-1b-stimulated ECs over 4, 8 and 16 h with non-stimulated Ecs using oligonucleotide microarrays covering more than 46 000 transcripts. Most significant changes were detected after 4 h. Utilization of Gene Ontology annotation for the stimulated EC transcriptome indicated multiple upregulated genes encoding extracellular proteins with a cell–cell signaling function. Using flow cytometry, delta, colony and cobblestone assays, we assessed the proliferative capacities of 11 gene products, i.e. IL-8, IL-32, FGF-18, osteoprotegerin, Gro 1–3, ENA78, GCP-2, CCL2 and CCL20, which are not known to induce HPC expansion. Notably, IL-32 and to a lesser degree osteoprotegerin and Gro 3 significantly induced the proliferation of HPCs. Furthermore, IL-32 attenuated chemotherapy-related BM cytotoxicities by increasing the number of colony forming cells in mice (7.4±0.87×103 versus 0.7±0.25×103, p=0.003). Our findings confirm that the combination of microarrays and gene annotation helps to identify new hematopoietic growth factors.
No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.