Administration of recombinant human interleukin 7 (rh)IL-7 to mice has been reported by our group to increase the exportation of myeloid progenitors (colony-forming unit [CFU]-c and CFU-granulocyte erythroid megakarocyte macrophage) from the bone marrow to peripheral organs (blood, spleen[s], and liver). We now report that IL-7 also stimulates a sixfold increase in the number of more primitive CFU-S day 8 (CFU-S8) and day 12 (CFU-S12) in the peripheral blood leukocytes (PBL) of mice treated with rhIL-7 for 7 d. Moreover, > 90% of lethally irradiated recipient mice that received PBL from rhIL-7-treated donor mice have survived for > 6 mo whereas none of the recipient mice that received an equal number of PBL from diluent-treated donors survived. Flow cytometry analysis at 3 and 6 mo after transplantation revealed complete trilineage (T, B, and myelomonocytic cell) repopulation of bone marrow, thymus, and spleen by blood-borne stem/progenitor cells obtained from rhIL-7-treated donor mice. Thus, IL-7 may prove valuable for mobilizing pluripotent stem cells with long-term repopulating activity from the bone marrow to the peripheral blood for the purpose of gene modification and/or autologous or allogeneic stem cell transplantation.

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