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The lineage relationship of dendritic cells (DC) with other hematopoietic cell types has been studied extensively, resulting in the identification of different bone marrow (BM) progenitors that give rise to distinct DC types. However, the identity of the different maturation stages of DC precursors in the BM remains unclear. In this study we define the in vivo developmental steps of the myeloid DC lineage in mouse BM. To this end, BM cells were separated according to their expression of CD31 (ER-MP12), Ly-6C (ER-MP20) and ER-MP58 antigens, and stimulated to develop into myeloid DC, using granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor as a specific growth factor. DC developed from three BM subpopulations: ER-MP12(hi)/20(-) (early blast cells), ER-MP12(+)/20(+) (myeloid blasts) and ER-MP12(-)/20(hi) (monocytes). The kinetic and phenotypic features of DC developing in vitro indicate that the three populations represent successive maturation stages of myeloid DC precursors. Within the earliest ER-MP12(hi)/20(-) population, DC precursors exclusively occurred in the myeloid-restricted ER-MP58(hi) subset. By using switch cultures, we show that these BM precursor subpopulations, when stimulated to develop into macrophages using macrophage colony stimulating factor, retain the ability to develop into myeloid DC until advanced stages of maturation. Together, these findings support a common ER-MP12/20-defined differentiation pathway for both macrophages and myeloid DC throughout their BM development.

Original publication




Journal article


Int Immunol

Publication Date





515 - 524


Animals, Bone Marrow Cells, Cell Lineage, Dendritic Cells, Female, Genes, MHC Class II, Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor, Growth Substances, Mice, Mice, Inbred C3H, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Myeloid Progenitor Cells, Protein Precursors