Gp130-signaling synergizes with FL and TPO for the long-term expansion of cord blood progenitors
Rappold I., Watt SM., Kusadasi N., Rose-John S., Hatzfeld J., Ploemacher RE.
We investigated the effect of a new fusion protein of IL-6 and the soluble IL-6R, H-IL-6, on the long-term ex vivo expansion of hematopoietic progenitors derived from AC133+ cord blood cells. H-IL-6, which acts on both IL-6Rα-positive and IL-6Rα-negative cells, effectively synergized with FL and TPO with or without SCF for the propagation of primitive progenitors. However, IL-6 showed a greater synergistic effect with FL and TPO than H-IL-6 for long-term progenitor propagation. During the first 6 weeks of culture under stroma-free serum-containing conditions, IL-6 induced a 1.96 ± 0.64-fold higher expansion of nucleated cells, a 2.28 ± 0.33-fold higher expansion of CD34+ cells and a 2.74 ± 0.28-fold higher expansion of CD34+ AC133+ cells than H-IL-6 in combination with FL and TPO. The propagation of week 6 CAFC was up to four-fold higher in the presence of IL-6 than with H-IL-6. While the expansion of CD34+ and CD34+ AC133+ cells dropped after 5-7 weeks in the stroma-free cultures with FL, TPO and H-IL-6, a sustained expansion for 12 weeks was obtained in the presence of FL, TPO and IL-6. Stroma-contact greatly enhanced the progenitor expansion induced by FL and TPO or FL, TPO and H-IL-6 although the highest proliferation was again obtained in the presence of IL-6. In contrast, the presence of SCF resulted in increased differentiation. Since the majority of primitive progenitors are proposed to be IL-6Rα-negative, the results suggest that the synergistic effect of IL-6 is mediated by accessory cells, which have been more effectively stimulated by IL-6 than by the fusion peptide, H-IL-6, in this culture system.