The activity of protein kinase C (PK-C) has been implicated in the regulation of the growth and differentiation of both normal and neoplastic hematopoietic cells. We have examined the effects of the PK- C-activating agents phorbol 12,13-dibutyrate (PDBu), mezerein, and bryostatin 1 on the proliferation and lineage commitment of CD34+ human myeloid progenitor cells stimulated by recombinant interleukin-3 (rIL- 3) and/or recombinant granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (rGM-CSF). Although each of the PK-C activators administered alone induced no colony formation, coadministration of these agents with plateau concentrations of each cytokine (eg, 50 ng/mL) increased the number of day 14 granulocyte-macrophage colony-forming units by 100% to 150%. The number of pure and mixed neutrophil and macrophage colonies was substantially enhanced in the presence of PK-C activators, whereas the percentage and, in most cases, the absolute number of eosinophilic colonies was significantly reduced. The inhibition of eosinophilic colony formation was not overcome by the addition of rIL-5. Although addition of bryostatin 1 24 hours before rIL-3 abrogated the increase in total colony formation observed with simultaneous administration of factors, the inhibition of eosinophilic colonies and the increase in neutrophil/macrophage colonies persisted under these conditions. The addition of bryostatin 1 for up to 144 hours after rIL-3 continued to potentiate total colony formation, whereas the inhibition of eosinophilic commitment was lost after 120 hours. Together, these results suggest that pharmacologic interventions at the level of PK-C may regulate both the proliferation as well as the lineage commitment of human hematopoietic progenitors exposed to rGM-CSF and rIL-3.

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