We have previously shown that a low concentration of CSF-1 (1 U/ml) can trigger human immature monocytic progenitor proliferation in the presence of low concentrations of IL3 (1.7 U/ml). No c-fms down-regulation was observed during this early cell activation. In contrast, 20 U/ml of CSF-1, active on late monocytic cell growth, down-regulated c-fms mRNA expression in immature progenitors and monocytes derived from bone marrow CD34+ cells in culture. We have now extended this study to include the effects of various concentrations of GM-CSF, IL3 and G-CSF on c-fms expression. We observed that high doses of GM-CSF or IL3 down-modulated c-fms mRNA, whereas low doses of GM-CSF or IL3, which were active on early monocytic growth, had no such effect. Similar results were observed at the protein level. In contrast, whatever the concentration, G-CSF had no effect on c-fms mRNA or protein levels. We further observed that the more immature the c-fms expressing progenitors, the faster the down-modulation of this receptor. This was observed within less than 1 hour for immature bone marrow cells, 6 hours for peripheral blood monocytes and even longer for transformed monocytic cells. These results suggest that oncogene expression can be regulated much more rapidly in immature progenitors than was previously observed in mature cells or transformed cell lines.

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