Hematopoietic stem cells give rise to various multipotent progenitor populations, which expand in response to cytokines and which ultimately generate all of the elements of the blood. Here we show that it is possible to increase the number of stem and progenitor cells in the bone marrow (BM) by suppressing the activity of NO synthases (NOS). Exposure of mice to NOS inhibitors, either directly or after irradiation and BM transplantation, increases the number of stem cells in the BM. In the transplantation model, this increase is followed by a transient increase in the number of neutrophils in the peripheral blood. Thus, our results indicate that NO is important for the control of hematopoietic stem cells in the BM. They further suggest that suppression of NO synthase activity may allow expansion of the number of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells or neutrophils for therapeutic purposes.
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