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Whereas multiple growth-promoting cytokines have been demonstrated to be involved in regulation of the hemopoietic stem cell (HSC) pool, the potential role of negative regulators is less clear. However, IFN-γ, if overexpressed, can mediate bone marrow suppression and has been directly implicated in a number of bone marrow failure syndromes, including graft-vs-host disease. Whether IFN-γ might directly affect the function of repopulating HSCs has, however, not been investigated. In the present study, we used in vitro conditions promoting self-renewing divisions of human HSCs to investigate the effect of IFN-γ on HSC maintenance and function. Although purified cord blood CD34+CD38- cells underwent cell divisions in the presence of IFN-γ, cycling HSCs exposed to IFN-γ in vitro were severely compromised in their ability to reconstitute long-term cultures in vitro and multilineage engraft NOD-SCID mice in vivo (>90% reduced activity in both HSC assays). In vitro studies suggested that IFN-γ accelerated differentiation of targeted human stem and progenitor cells. These results demonstrate that IFN-γ can negatively affect human HSC self-renewal.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Immunology

Publication Date





752 - 757