The nature of hematopoietic regulatory factors elaborated by the adherent (stromal) cells of long-term murine bone marrow cultures and the effect of in vitro stromal irradiation (XRT) on the production of these factors was investigated. Using an in situ stromal assay employing a double layer of semisolid agar, it was possible to demonstrate stromal elaboration of at least two colony-stimulating activities, ie, granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating activity (G/M- CSA) and megakaryocyte colony-stimulating activity (Meg-CSA). Exposure of the stroma to XRT resulted in dose-dependent elevations of both activities that correlated inversely with total myeloid cell mass as determined by concurrent reductions in total supernatant cell recoveries from irradiated cultures. Mixture experiments that combined control and irradiated stroma revealed that the hematopoietically active control stroma could block detection of XRT-related G/M-CSA elevations. These data implicate a local negative feedback mechanism in the regulation of hematopoiesis. Antiserum directed against purified L cell colony-stimulating factor (CSF) reduced granulocyte/macrophage colony formation in the target layer but did not effect the increased Meg-CSA. While a radioimmunoassay for L-cell type CSF was unable to detect significant differences in concentrated media from control and irradiated cultures, bioassays of these media revealed XRT-related G/M- CSA elevations. These results indicate that the G/M-CSA elaborated in these cultures is immunologically distinct from the Meg-CSA produced, and although distinct from L cell CSF, the G/M-CSA is crossreactive with the L cell CSF antiserum. Morphologic, histochemical, and factor VII antigen immunofluorescent studies were performed on the stromal cell population responsible for production of these stimulatory activities. In addition to “fat” cells, the stromal cells remaining after XRT were composed of two predominant cell populations. These included a major population of acid phosphatase and nonspecific esterase-positive macrophage-like cells and a minor population of factor VII antigen negative epithelioid cells.

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