Overexpression of interleukin 21 induces expansion of hematopoietic progenitor cells

Katsutoshi Ozaki, Ai Hishiya, Keiko Hatanaka, Hideaki Nakajima, Gang Wang, Patrick Hwu, Toshio Kitamura, Keiya Ozawa, Warren J. Leonard, Tetsuya Nosaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The interleukin 21 (IL-21) receptor is expressed on T-cells, B-cells, and natural killer cells, and IL-21 is critical for regulating immunoglobulin production in vivo in cooperation with IL-4. So far, however, little is known about a role for IL-21 outside the immune system. We investigated the effect of IL-21 on hematopoiesis in vivo by using the hydrodynamics gene-delivery method. Overexpression of IL-21 increases Sca-1+ cells in the periphery and spleen. It also increases the numbers of C-Kit+, Sca-1+, and lineage-/low (KSL) cells and colony-forming units-granulocyte- macrophage (CFU-GM) in the spleen, indicating the expansion of hematopoietic progenitor cells. We found that even in RAG2-/- mice, which lack mature T-cells and B-cells, IL-21 induced an increase in KSL cells and CFU-GM in the spleen. These results demonstrate that IL-21 can induce the expansion of hematopoietic progenitor cells in vivo, even in the absence of mature T-cells and B-cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-230
Number of pages7
JournalInternational journal of hematology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Oct 1


  • CFU-GM
  • Expansion
  • Hematopoietic progenitor cells
  • Interleukin 21
  • Overexpression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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