Dysregulated hematopoiesis and a progressive neurological disorder induced by expression of an activated form of the human common β chain in transgenic mice

Richard J. D'Andrea, Duygu Harrison-Findik, Carolyn M. Butcher, John Finnie, Peter Blumbergs, Paul Bartley, Matthew McCormack, Karen Jones, Robert Rowland, Thomas J. Gonda, Mathew A. Vadas

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Previously we described activating mutations of hβ(c), the common signaling subunit of the receptors for the hematopoietic and inflammatory cytokines, GM-CSF, IL-3, and IL-5. The activated mutant, hβ(c)FIΔ, is able to confer growth factor-independent proliferation on the murine myeloid cell line FDC-P1, and on primary committed myeloid progenitors. We have used this activating mutation to study the effects of chronic cytokine receptor stimulation. Transgenic mice were produced carrying the hβ(c)FIΔ cDNA linked to the constitutive promoter derived from the phosphoglycerate kinase gene, PGK-1. Transgene expression was demonstrated in several tissues and functional activity of the mutant receptor was confirmed in hematopoietic tissues by the presence of granulocyte macrophage and macrophage colony- forming cells (CFU-GM and CFU-M) in the absence of added cytokines. All transgenic mice display a myeloproliferative disorder characterized by splenomegaly, erythrocytosis, and granulocytic and megakaryocytic hyperplasia. This disorder resembles the human disease polycythemia vera, suggesting that activating mutations in hβ(c) may play a role in the pathogenesis of this myeloproliferative disorder. In addition, these transgenic mice develop a sporadic, progressive neurological disease and display bilateral, symmetrical loci of necrosis in the white matter of brain stem associated with an accumulation of macrophages. Thus, chronic hβ(c) activation has the potential to contribute to pathological events in the central nervous system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1951-1960
Number of pages10
JournalThe Journal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Cytokine receptor
  • Granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor
  • Interleukin 3
  • Mutation
  • Polycythemia vera

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