Neonatal W-mutant mice are favorable hosts for tracking development of marked hematopoietic stem cells.
Neonatal unirradiated mice of W-mutant genotypes, with a hematopoietic stem cell defect and anemia, were injected i.v. with normal fetal liver hematopoietic cells. Efficient, long-term engraftment occurred as a result of the competitive advantage to the donor stem cells. The frequency of engraftment and rate of repopulation characteristically diminish in the series W/Wv, Wf/Wf, and Wv/+, in which the severity of the endogenous defect is progressively less. H-2 compatibility is required in the inbred strain combinations examined; other histocompatibility loci play a minor role in some strain combinations. Engraftment is due to self-renewing hematopoietic stem cells ancestral to myeloid and lymphoid lineages. The more mildly defective mutants display much greater variability in the kinetics of repopulation--a result consistent with seeding by single, or very few, stem cells that form developing clones. Engraftment efficiency is reduced by prolonged culture of fetal liver cells during experimental infection by recombinant retroviruses; nevertheless, after 24 h in vitro to achieve retroviral marking, stem cells retain their ability to repopulate and develop in W/Wv neonates.
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