The tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) signaling pathway has selective toxicity to malignant cells. The TRAIL receptors DR4 and DR5 are expressed at low levels in human umbilical cord blood cells (3-15%) and are upregulated by incubation with the cognate ligand, triggering apoptosis in 70-80% of receptor-positive cells (P0.001). Apoptosis is not induced in hematopoietic progenitors, as determined from sustained severe combined immunodeficiency reconstituting potential and clonogenic activity. Furthermore, elimination of dead cells after incubation with TRAIL for 72 h results in a threefold enrichment in myeloid progenitors. Exposure to TRAIL in semisolid cultures showed synergistic activity of DR4 and granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor in recruiting lineage-negative (lin ) and CD34 progenitors and in promoting the formation of large colonies. In murine bone marrow, 30% of lin cells express TRAIL-R2 (the only murine receptor), and the receptor is upregulated after transplantation in cycling and differentiating donor cells that home to the host marrow. However, this receptor is almost ubiquitously expressed in the most primitive (lin SCA-1 c-kit ) progenitors, and stimulates the clonogenic activity of lin cells (P0.001), suggesting a tropic function after transplantation. It is concluded that TRAIL does not trigger apoptosis in hematopoietic progenitors, and upregulation of its cognate receptors under stress conditions mediates tropic signaling that supports recovery from hypoplasia.
- hematopoietic progenitors
- umbilical cord blood