The relationship between human spleen and blood erythroid burstforming units (BFU‐E)

Dina Meytes, Jorge A. Ortega, Andrew Ma, Barton R. Wald, Nomie A. Shore, Peter P. Dukes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The influence of splenectomy on erythroid burst colony formation by peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 10 patients (four with hereditary spherocytosis, two with β‐thalassaemia major, two with Hodgkin's disease and two with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura) was studied. In every instance splenectomy was followed by a lowering of blood BFU‐E. The post‐splenectomy levels ranged from 0 to 30% of the preoperative levels. Mononuclear cells from the spleens of eight patients were cultured and found to contain numerous BFU‐E. The total quantity of BFU‐E in the whole blood and in the spleen of the patients was generally of the same order of magnitude. The number of splenic BFU‐E did not correlate with spleen size. Splenic BFU‐E differed from peripheral blood BFU‐E in that they were more sensitive to erythropoietin (Ep) and in that they failed to respond to burst promoting activity (BPA) produced by preincubating the spleen mononuclear cells with phytohaemagglutinin M (PHA). In contrast, media conditioned by PHA‐treated spleen cells contained BPA active on peripheral blood BFU‐E from normal individuals. These data suggest that the spleen may have an influence on the numbers and functional properties of BFU‐E.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-356
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Haematology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1983
Externally publishedYes


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