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We have developed a coculture system that establishes DLK(+) fetal hepatic progenitors as the authentic supportive cells for expansion of hematopoietic stem (HSCs) and progenitor cells. In 1-week cultures supplemented with serum and supportive cytokines, both cocultured DLK(+) fetal hepatic progenitors and their conditioned medium supported rapid expansion of hematopoietic progenitors and a small increase in HSC numbers. In 2- and 3-week cultures DLK(+) cells, but not their conditioned medium, continuously and significantly (>20-fold) expanded both hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. Physical contact between HSCs and DLK(+) cells was crucial to maintaining this long-term expansion. Similar HSC expansion (approximately sevenfold) was achieved in cocultures using a serum-free, low cytokine- containing medium. In contrast, DLK(-) cells are incapable of expanding hematopoietic cells, demonstrating that hepatic progenitors are the principle supportive cells for HSC expansion in the fetal liver. Copyright © 2013 ISEH - Society for Hematology and Stem Cells. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Song Chou, Johan Flygare, Harvey F Lodish. Fetal hepatic progenitors support long-term expansion of hematopoietic stem cells. Experimental hematology. 2013 May;41(5):479-490.e4

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PMID: 23415675

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