Life and Medical Sciences
Cell & Developmental Biology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
Bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) are a heterogeneous population of cells derived from colony-forming units-fibroblastic (CFU-Fs). These cells reside in the bone marrow cavity and are capable of differentiating into several cell phenotypes including osteoblasts, chondroblasts, hematopoiesis-supporting stromal cells, and adipocytes. However, the factors that regulate the proliferation and differentiation of the BMSC population are for the most part unknown. Since many members of the receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) family have been shown to participate in growth control of various mesenchymal cell populations, in this study we examined the expression and function of RTKs in the BMSC population. Degenerate oligonucleotides corresponding to two conserved catalytic domains of the RTK family and RT-PCR were used initially to determine which RTKs are expressed in the human BMSC (hBMSC) system. After subcloning the amplification product generated from mRNA of a multicolony-derived hBMSC strain, PDGF receptor (β), EGF receptor, FGF receptor 1, and Axl were identified by DNA sequencing of 26 bacterial colonies. Furthermore, PDGF and EGF were found to enhance BMSC growth in a dose-dependent manner and to induce tyrosine phosphorylation of intracellular molecules, including the PDGF and EGF receptors themselves, demonstrating the functionality of these receptors. On the other hand, bFGF was found to have little effect on proliferation or tyrosine phosphorylation. Since single colony-derived hBMSC strains are known to vary from one colony to another in colony habit (growth rate and colony structure) and the ability to form bone in vivo, the expression levels of these RTKs were determined in 18 hBMSC clonal strains by semiquantitative RT-PCR and were found to vary from one clonal strain to another. While not absolutely predictive of the osteogenic capacity of individual clonal strains, on average, relatively high levels of PDGF-receptor were found in bone-forming strains, while on average, nonbone-forming strains had relatively high levels of EGF-receptor. Taken together, these results indicate that RTKs play a role in the control of hBMSC proliferation, and that the differential pattern of RTK expression may be useful in correlating the biochemical properties of individual clonal strains with their ability to produce bone in vivo. J. Cell. Physiol. 177:426-438, 1998. © 1998 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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