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Previous studies have shown that retinoic acid (RA), similar to tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), can act as a bifunctional regulator of the growth of bone marrow progenitors, in that it can stimulate granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF)- or interleukin-3 (IL-3)-induced GM colony formation, but potently inhibit G-CSF-induced growth. The present study, using highly enriched human CD34+ as well as Lin- murine bone marrow progenitor cells, demonstrates a potent inhibitory effect of 9-cis-RA on burst-forming unit-erythroid (BFU-E) colony formation regardless of the cytokine stimulating growth. Specifically, 9-cis-RA potently inhibited the growth of BFU-E response to erythropoietin (Epo) (100%), stem cell factor (SCF) + Epo (92%), IL-3 + Epo (97%), IL-4 + Epo (88%), and IL-9 + Epo (100%). Erythroid colony growth was also inhibited when CD34+ progenitors were seeded at one cell per well, suggesting a direct action of RA. Using synthetic ligands to retinoic acid receptors (RARs) and retinoid X receptors (RXRs) that selectively bind and activate RAR-RXR or RXR-RXR dimers, respectively, we dissected the involvement of the two retinoid response pathways in the regulation of normal myeloid and erythroid progenitor cell growth. Transactivation studies showed that both the RAR (Ro 13-7410) and RXR (Ro 25-6603 and Ro 25-7386) ligands were highly selective at 100 nmol/L. At this concentration, Ro 13-7410 potently inhibited G-CSF-stimulated myeloid as well as SCF + Epo-induced erythroid colony growth. At the same concentration, Ro 25-6603 and Ro 25-7386 had little or no effect on G-CSF-induced colony formation, whereas they inhibited 75% and 53%, respectively, of SCF + Epo-stimulated BFU-E colony growth. Thus, the RAR-RXR response pathway can signal growth inhibition of normal bone marrow myeloid and erythroid progenitor cells. In addition, we demonstrate a unique involvement of the RXR-RXR pathway in mediating growth inhibition of erythroid but not myeloid progenitor cells.


Journal article



Publication Date





1728 - 1736


Animals, Antigens, CD34, Base Sequence, Benzoates, Consensus Sequence, Cyclohexanes, Depression, Chemical, Erythroid Precursor Cells, Erythropoiesis, Erythropoietin, Hematopoietic Cell Growth Factors, Humans, Interleukins, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Molecular Sequence Data, Pentanoic Acids, Rats, Receptors, Retinoic Acid, Recombinant Proteins, Retinoic Acid Receptor alpha, Retinoid X Receptors, Retinoids, Signal Transduction, Stem Cell Factor, Transcription Factors, Tretinoin