Fetal spleen is a major hematopoietic site prior to initiation of bone marrow hematopoiesis. Morphologic analysis suggested erythropoietic activity in fetal spleen, but it remained unclear how erythropoiesis was regulated. To address this question, we performed flow cytometric analysis and observed that the number of spleen erythroid cells increased 18.6-fold from 16.5 to 19.5 days post-coitum (dpc). Among erythropoietic cytokines, SCF and IGF-1 were primarily expressed in hematopoietic, endothelial and mesenchymal-like fetal spleen cells. Cultures treated with SCF and/or IGF-1R inhibitors showed significantly decreased CD45-c-Kit-CD71+/- Ter119+ erythroid cells and downregulated Gata1, Klf1 and β-major globin expression. Administration of these inhibitors to pregnant mice significantly decreased the number of CD45-c-Kit-CD71+/- Ter119+ cells and downregulated β-major globin gene expression in embryos derived from these mice. We conclude that fetal spleen is a major erythropoietic site where endothelial and mesenchymal-like cells primarily accelerate erythropoietic activity through SCF and IGF-1 secretion.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)