Developmental changes in pluripotent hematopoietic progenitors

Early Hum Dev. 1988 Mar;16(2-3):195-205. doi: 10.1016/0378-3782(88)90099-0.


In rats of various prenatal and postnatal ages, the number of pluripotent hematopoietic progenitor cells (CFU-GEMM) in the blood, liver, spleen and bone marrow was determined, and their cell-cycle characteristics compared. Similar to human neonates, fetal and neonatal rats had a much higher concentration of CFU-GEMM in the blood than did mature animals (2060-8320 CFU-GEMM/ml blood at 15 days gestation vs. 20-120/ml at six weeks of age, P less than 0.001). However, the total body pool of CFU-GEMM/g body weight was significantly less in fetal animals than in adults (2010 CFU-GEMM/g, range 850-2650/g at 20 days gestation vs. 10 550/g, range 7900-14,900/g at 6 weeks, P less than 0.001). The proportion of CFU-GEMM killed by tritiated thymidine was 2% (0-12%) in adults rats, whereas younger animals had progressively higher rates, reaching over 90% (68-100) in fetal animals (P less than 0.001). Following incubation with Interleukin 3 (IL-3), the thymidine suicide rate of CFU-GEMM from mature rates increased significantly (from 4 +/- 3% to 53 +/- 4%, P less than 0.01), but no increase was detected in CFU-GEMM from fetal rats. These features might contribute to the limited capacity of neonatal subjects to significantly increase production of the progeny of CFU-GEMM.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Cell Cycle
  • Colony-Forming Units Assay
  • Fetus / cytology
  • Gestational Age
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Hematopoietic System / cytology
  • Hematopoietic System / drug effects
  • Hematopoietic System / growth & development*
  • Interleukin-3 / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains


  • Interleukin-3