In the study we report here we investigated the colony-stimulating activities of interleukin-9 (IL-9). In the presence of erythropoietin, IL-9 was found to stimulate the proliferation of relatively early erythroid progenitor cells (BFU-E) from normal human bone marrow cells depleted of mononuclear phagocytes and T lymphocytes. Neutralization experiments demonstrated that the observed BFU-E-stimulating effect was not the result of intermediate production of IL-3 or GM-CSF by residual accessory cells in response to IL-9. Accordingly, the effects of IL-9 were preserved when cell suspensions were further depleted of accessory cells using CD34 enrichment of progenitor cells. Furthermore, IL-9 did not stimulate bone marrow mononuclear cells to express mRNA for IL-3, GM-CSF, EPA (erythroid-promoting activity), or IL-4, as determined by a cDNA-PCR method. IL-9 is likely to act on a subpopulation of IL-3-responsive erythroid progenitor cells that are not stimulated by GM-CSF, since plateau concentration of IL-9 and GM-CSF had additive effects on BFU-E formation, whereas a combination of IL-9 and IL-3 did not. In addition to its burst-promoting activity, IL-9 was found to have a modest stimulatory activity on myeloid progenitor cells (CFU-GM) in some experiments, suggesting that this effect may be donor related.
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Schaafsma, M.R., Falkenburg, J.H.F., Duinkerken, N. et al. Interleukin-9 stimulates the proliferation of enriched human erythroid progenitor cells: additive effect with GM-CSF. Ann Hematol 66, 45–49 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01737688