A colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF) has been partially purified and concentrated from mouse yolk sac-conditioned medium (YSCM). M-CSF appeared to preferentially stimulate CBA bone marrow granulocyte-macrophage progenitor cells (GM-CFC) to differentiate to form macrophage colonies in semisolid agar cultures. By comparison, colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) from mouse lung-conditioned medium (MLCM) stimulated the formation of granulocytic, mixed granulocytic-macrophage, and pure macrophage colonies. Mixing experiments indicated that both M-CSF and GM-CSF stimulated all of the GM-CFC but that the smaller CFC were more sensitive to GM-CSF and that the larger CFC were more sensitive to M-CSF. Almost all developing "clones" stimulated initially with M-CSF continued to develop when transferred to cultures containing GM-CSF. In the converse situation, only 50% of GM-CSF prestimulated "clones" survived when transferred to cultures containing M-CSF. All clones initially stimulated by M-CSF or transferred to cultures stimulated by M-CSF contained macrophages after 7 days of culture. These results suggest that there is a population of cells (GM-CFC) that are capable of differentiating to form both granulocytes and macrophages, but, once these cells are activated by a specific CSF (e.g. M-CSF), they are committed to a particular differentiation pathway. The pattern of CFC differentiation was not directly related to the rate of proliferation: cultures maximally stimulated by M-CSF produced mostly macrophage colonies, but the presence of small amounts of GM-CSF produced granulocytic cells in 30% of the colonies. Gel filtration, polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis in the presence of sodium dodecyl sulfate, and affinity chromatography with concanavalin A-Sepharose indicated that M-CSF from yolk sacs was a glycoprotein with an apparent molecular weight of 60,000. There was some heterogeneity of the carbohydrate portion of the molecule as evidenced by chromatography on concanavalin A-Sepharose.

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