Megakaryocyte growth and development factor (MGDF) has recently been identified as a ligand for the c-mpl receptor. Using retroviral- mediated gene transfer, MGDF has been overexpressed in mice to evaluate the systematic effects due to chronic exposure to this growth factor. MGDF overexpressing mice had more rapid platelet recovery than control mice after transplantation. Following this recovery, the platelet levels continued increasing to fourfold to eightfold above normal baseline levels and remained elevated (five-fold above control mice) in these animals, which are alive and well at more than 4 months posttransplantation. Increased megakaryocyte numbers were detected in a number of organs in these mice including bone marrow, spleen, liver, and lymph nodes. Prolonged overexpression of MGDF led to decreased marrow hematopoiesis, especially erythropoiesis, with a shift to extramedullary hematopoiesis in the spleen and liver. All the MGDF overexpressing mice analyzed to date developed myelofibrosis and osteosclerosis, possibly induced by megakaryocyte and platelet produced cytokines. No significant effect on other hematopoietic lineages was seen in the MGDF overexpressing mice, showing that the stimulatory effect of MGDF in vivo is restricted to the megakaryocyte lineage.

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