Our goal is to generate sufficient PLTs from ex vivo-generated MKs for clinical utility in PLT transfusions. A critical step in this process begins with ex vivo-generated hMKs and deriving clinically relevant PLTs. We reported that infused mature, high-ploidy murine (m) MKs derived from fetal liver (FL) cells increased PLT counts in recipient mice in a clinically relevant fashion, thus avoiding the need to generate ex vivo functional PLTs. We examined whether this strategy applies to hMKs derived from FL cells (gestational age, 17–21 weeks) and bone marrow (BM) cells in a xeno-transfusion model using immunodeficient NOD/SCID/IL-2Rγcnull (NSG) mice. Infused hPLTs isolated from blood had a half-life (T1/2) of 10 hours (hrs), compared to 24 hrs for infused murine PLTs. The hPLTs were functional in NSG mice as demonstrated by their incorporation into growing thrombi in situ. Both hFL hematopoietic mononuclear cells and hBM-CD34+ cells were cultured in serum-free media supplemented with optimized cytokine cocktails to generate hMKs. In contrast to the murine studies where the FL cell-derived mMKs were the most efficient source of derived mPLTs, FL cell-derived hMKs had low ploidy (0% ≥ 8N ploidy), gave rise to ∼16 PLTs/infused hMK, and had a short T1/2 (6 hrs). In contrast, 17% of hBM cell-derived MKs had a ploidy of ≥ 8N, and after infusion into NSG mice, resulted in a wave of MKs transiently entrapped in the pulmonary microvasculature and then over ∼0.5–3 hrs released PLTs with a T1/2 of 10 hrs, comparable to infused hPLTs. Maximally, we achieved a level of 5% of circulating total PLTs being derived from human cells with ∼32 PLTs/infused hMK. These hPLTs were normal in size, displayed normal levels of surface markers, were functional, and incorporated into growing thrombi. One strategy to increase hPLT yield is to expose developing MKs to drugs reported to increase MK maturation, thrombopoiesis, and/or facilitate hematopoietic progenitor cell expansion. Such drugs include dimethylfasudil (diMF) (an inhibitor of several kinases involved in polyploidization), UNC0638 (a G9a histone methyltransferase inhibitor), SR1 (an AhR antagonist), and nicotinamide (a sirtuin histone/protein deacetylases inhibitor). Although diMF promoted size and polyploidization of hMKs, diMF markedly worsened yield of PLTs/infused hMK and decreased PLTs T1/2 in vivo. UNC0638 led to significant cell expansion, but lowered hMKs ploidy and PLTs/infused hMK yield. Nicotinamide increased maturation, size and polyploidization of hMKs, but PLT release following MK infusion needs further study. Of note, SR1 that has been reported to promote the expansion of human HSC, not only increased size and ploidy of hMKs, but also hPLT release in vitro and in vivo. SR1-treated hMKs resulted in a 3-fold increased yield of normal size, T1/2 and functional PLTs/infused hMK compared to a DMSO-treated control. In summary, like mMKs, infused hMKs into mice release PLTs in the pulmonary vasculature though at a lower efficiency. Released hPLTs were functional and T1/2 was as expected. diMF enhanced MK ploidy, but worsened PLT yield and T1/2, while an AhR antagonist SR1 that also improved MK ploidy appears to markedly enhance yield of PLT/infused hMK, while maintaining T1/2. The ability of SR1 to enhance PLT release from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs)-derived MKs remains to be tested, but this drug appears to be a strong candidate for a therapeutic strategy to take ex vivo-grown hMKs and generate PLTs in clinical relevant numbers.
No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.