The present study shows that recombinant human megakaryocyte growth and development factor (r-HuMGDF) behaves both as a megakaryocyte colony stimulating factor and as a differentiation factor in human progenitor cell cultures. Megakaryocyte colony formation induced with r-HuMGDF is synergistically affected by stem cell factor but not by interleukin 3. Megakaryocytes stimulated with r-HuMGDF demonstrate progressive cytoplasmic and nuclear maturation. Measurable levels of megakaryocyte growth and development factor in serum from patients undergoing myeloablative therapy and transplantation are shown to be elaborated in response to thrombocytopenic stress. These data support the concept that megakaryocyte growth and development factor is a physiologically regulated cytokine that is capable of supporting several aspects of megakaryopoiesis.
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