Human recombinant granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor and interleukin 3 have overlapping but distinct hematopoietic activities

J Clin Invest. 1988 Oct;82(4):1282-7. doi: 10.1172/JCI113727.


The hematopoietic stimulatory activities of human recombinant IL-3 and granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) were directly compared using highly enriched human bone marrow progenitor target cells. IL-3 supported a larger number of erythroid and megakaryocytic progenitor cells than did GM-CSF, while GM-CSF supported more myeloid progenitors. IL-3 directly stimulated the division and migration of primitive erythroid burst forming units, while GM-CSF merely sustained their net survival in culture without promoting division and expansion. IL-3 promoted the formation of larger numbers of multipotential granulocyte-erythroid-macrophage-megakaryocyte colony forming unit--derived colonies than did GM-CSF. These data indicate that human IL-3 and GM-CSF have overlapping but distinct hematopoietic activities, and suggest a potential role for the clinical application of combined IL-3/GM-CSF therapy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bone Marrow Cells
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Colony-Forming Units Assay
  • Colony-Stimulating Factors / pharmacology*
  • Erythroblasts / drug effects
  • Erythroblasts / physiology
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor
  • Growth Substances / pharmacology*
  • Hematopoiesis / drug effects*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / physiology
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-3 / pharmacology*
  • Megakaryocytes / drug effects
  • Megakaryocytes / physiology
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology*


  • Colony-Stimulating Factors
  • Growth Substances
  • Interleukin-3
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor