Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor reactivates fetal hemoglobin synthesis in erythroblast clones from normal adults

M. Gabbianelli, E. Pelosi, E. Bassano, C. Labbaye, S. Petti, E. Rocca, E. Tritarelli, B. A. Miller, M. Valtieri, U. Testa, C. Peschle

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26 Scopus citations


Reactivation of fetal hemoglobin (HbF, α2γ2) synthesis was previously reported in normal human adult erythroblast colonies ('bursts') generated by erythroid progenitors (BFU-E) in fetal calf serum-supplemented (FCS+) semisolid cultures stimulated with erythropoietin (Ep). Our studies focused on the reactivation of HbF synthesis in normal adult erythroid bursts generated by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) seeded in FCS+ methylcellulose culture. Reactivation is almost totally suppressed when (a) PBMCs are grown in optimized FCS- culture, or (b) PBMCs are first stringently depleted of monocytes and then plated in FCS+ medium (ie, BFU-E growth in FCS+Mo- culture). In both experimental conditions, the proliferation of lymphocytes and macrophages interspersed among colonies is drastically reduced, and the cloning efficiency of granulocyte-macrophage (GM) progenitors is sharply diminished. In either case, addition of biosynthetic GM colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) induces a dose-related increase of HbF synthesis up to the level in FCS+ culture, with even more elevated values on delayed addition of Ep. A dose-related increase was also observed in erythroblast clones generated by highly purified BFU-E. These results suggest that reactivation of HbF synthesis in normal adults is at least in part mediated by GM-CSF. Furthermore, they imply intriguing hypotheses on the mechanism(s) of perinatal Hb switching. Finally, they raise the possibility of reactivation of HbF synthesis in β-thalassemia and sickle cell anemia by GM-CSF therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2657-2667
Number of pages11
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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