The cytokines interleukin-3 (IL-3); IL-5, and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) are known to contribute to the proliferation and differentiation of eosinophil progenitors. Recently, it was determined that the cellular receptors for these three cytokines share a common beta-chain while having unique alpha-chains. Thus, there is considerable interest in how these cytokines and their receptors interact in promoting production of eosinophils. We have established a cell line (AML14) from a patient with acute myelogenous leukemia that will consistently exhibit eosinophilic differentiation in suspension in response to IL-3, IL-5, and GM-CSF. Proliferation with only modest differentiative effects was observed in response to a single cytokine. Combinations of two cytokines gave variable results, with GM-CSF + IL-3 and IL-3 + IL-5 causing more proliferation than a single cytokine but little more differentiation. The combination of GM-CSF + IL-5 caused marked enhancement of eosinophilic differentiation with only modest augmentation of proliferation. The combination of all three cytokines was most effective in stimulating both proliferation and eosinophilic differentiation (up to 70% of cells) of AML14 cells. Specific binding of GM-CSF and IL-5 to AML14 cells can be conveniently studied by flow cytometric methods, and cross-competition of these two cytokines for their respective receptors was demonstrated. IL-3 was shown to partially compete for IL-5 binding on AML14 cells. Although specific IL- 3 binding could not be demonstrated by flow cytometry, mRNA for the alpha-chains of the IL-3, IL-5, and GM-CSF receptors and the beta-chain common to all three receptors was detected in AML14 cells. The AML14 cell line may be a useful model for the study of cooperative interactions of IL-3, IL-5, GM-CSF, and their respective receptors in the promotion of eosinophil progenitor growth and differentiation.

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