Interleukin-1 alpha (IL-1 alpha) is a macrophage-derived, multifunctional cytokine that broadly potentiates myelopoiesis and induces the synthesis of hematopoietic colony-stimulating factors (CSF) in vitro and in vivo. To evaluate the possibility for use of IL-1 alpha in ameliorating in vivo bone marrow suppression induced by drugs or radiation, we examined the in vivo effects of the cytokine on erythropoietic and other hematopoietic progenitor cells. Normal mice were treated with a single intraperitoneal (IP) injection of recombinant human IL-1 alpha at varying doses and were assayed at various times post-treatment. By six hours postinjection, a significant suppression of mature erythroid progenitors (CFU-E) was observed in animals treated with IL-1 alpha (0.5 micrograms/mouse), with maximum suppression of CFU-E and peripheral blood reticulocyte counts occurring at 24 hours. Decreases in peripheral blood hematocrit did not occur after a single IL-1 alpha injection but were observed after multiple injections of the cytokine. The suppressive effects of IL-1 alpha on late-stage erythropoiesis were abrogated by simultaneous administration of erythropoietin (EPO). At 48 hours post-treatment, a marked stimulation was observed in the numbers of spleen and marrow immature erythroid (BFU-E), macrophage (CFU-M), granulocyte (CFU-G), granulocyte- macrophage (CFU-GM), and megakaryocyte (CFU-meg) progenitor cells. These results demonstrate the potential use of IL-1 alpha as a generalized stimulator of hematopoiesis and show that the cytokine- induced suppression of late-stage erythropoiesis can be prevented by EPO.

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