The Effect of the Spleen on Compartmental Levels and Distribution of Donor Progenitor Cells after Syngeneic and Allogeneic Bone Marrow Transplants

Alwi M. Shatry, Monica Jones, Robert B. Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


These studies investigate the involvement of the spleen in progenitor (PC) cell numbers and "cross-talk" with the marrow compartment following syngeneic or allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT) in sham or fully splenectomized mice. Intact recipient B6 mice were lethally irradiated prior to transplant with T cell-depleted bone marrow (BM-TCD). The kinetics of PC reconstitution following i.v. transplant consistently revealed a dramatic increase in splenic colony-forming unit interleukin-3 (CFU IL-3) and CFU (high proliferative potential-(HPP) levels between days 5 and 12 post-BMT. Direct injection of TCD-BM into the recipient marrow cavity did not alter this pattern of reconstitution in the splenic compartment. In contrast to spleens from normal adult B6 mice containing 0.9% and 0.6% of the total combined splenic and marrow committed (CFU IL-3) and primitive (CFU-HPP) progenitors, respectively, spleens of syngeneic BMT recipients at day 12 contained a 10-fold increase (p < 0.001) over the progenitor levels in normal spleens. These splenic numbers decreased to normal, homeostatic levels by day 28 post-BMT. In contrast, the level of marrow CFU IL-3 progenitors continued to increase post-transplant, reaching near homeostatic levels by day 28 post-BMT. Interestingly, early seeding of 5- (and -6)carboxyfluorescein diacetate succinimidyl ester (CFSE)-labeled or green fluorescent protein (GFP) donor bone marrow cells (BMC) to the marrow compartment was not different in sham splenectomies or recipients splenectomized 14 days earlier. However, recipient splenectomy consistently resulted in significantly higher numbers of CFU IL-3 in the bone marrow during the first 2 weeks post-transplant compared to sham controls. These elevated levels exceeded the combined progenitor numbers of the splenic and marrow compartments of intact recipients. Notably, this increase in marrow progenitor activity in splenectomized recipients was observed after syngeneic as well as allogeneic BMT. Allogeneic transplants across major, or those limited to minor, histocompatibility antigen differences exhibited this increased marrow progenitor activity. Splenectomy performed 2 h post-transplant to assure "normal" marrow seeding also resulted in higher marrow progenitor activity. Thus, this "marrow response" to splenectomy is not induced by early "shunting" of infused BM cells to the marrow compartment. These results suggest that communication between the splenic and marrow compartments following syngeneic and allogeneic BMT exists during early hematopoietic reconstitution, one effect of which is to impact the compartmental distribution of donor progenitor cells. The role of the spleen on engraftment, chimerism, and tolerance in allogeneic BMT models are now under investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-62
Number of pages12
JournalStem cells and development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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