Human recombinant interleukin-4 (IL-4) was studied for its effects on myeloid progenitor cells from normal and leukemic bone marrow cells in the presence and absence of additional growth factors. IL-4 itself did not support myeloid cluster or colony formation (CFU-GM). However, cultures supplied with IL-4 (300 U/mL) and IL-3 demonstrated a significant decline in myeloid colony numbers (CFU-GM) compared with the effects of IL-3 alone: (48 +/- 27 v 88 +/- 27 CFU-GM/10(5) MNC). In contrast, IL-4 augmented the G-CSF-supported CFU-GM: (80 +/- 31 v 148 +/- 52 CFU-GM/10(5) MNC). The effects of IL-4 were not mediated by accessory cells because similar results were obtained with and without T-cell, B-cell, or adherent depleted cell fractions. Morphologic analysis of clusters (day 7) and the colonies (day 14) demonstrated that IL-4 enhanced myeloid colony formation in the presence of G-CSF, whereas the cultures supplied with IL-3 and IL-4 did not show a lineage- restricted decline of CFU-GM. A heterogeneity in growth response was observed in the leukemic counterpart. With the 3H-thymidine proliferation assay, IL-4 augmented the G-CSF-induced proliferation of acute myeloid leukemic (AML) cells in 4 of the 12 cases, while the IL-3- supported proliferation was antagonized in 3 of the 12 cases. In the blast colony assay, IL-4 suppressed the IL-3-supported AML-CFU in the majority of cases, but enhanced the G-CSF stimulated AML-CFU in 3 of 6 cases. These data demonstrate divergent effects of IL-4 on the normal myeloid progenitor cell in the presence of IL-3 or G-CSF, while a variability in responsiveness is observed in the leukemic counterpart.

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