To elucidate the physiologic role of thrombopoietin (TPO) for hematologic reconstitution following allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT), serum TPO levels as well as interleukin-3 (IL-3), IL-6 and IL-11 were serially measured in 55 samples from 3 patients who underwent allogeneic BMT using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The TPO level was higher in the serum taken during marrow aplasia than in the pretransplant serum. The serum TPO levels and platelet counts showed a strong inverse relationship in all patients examined. We also sequentially measured endogenous serum TPO levels before and within 36 h after platelet transfusions. Endogenous serum TPO levels were inversely correlated with platelet mass following platelet transfusions. Serum levels of IL-3 had no apparent correlation with platelet counts and serum levels of IL-11 remained below the detection levels (31.3 pg/ml) in all samples. Serum levels of IL-6 were high during myeloaplasia and more upregulated in the febrile period. These findings support the view that TPO is the central regulator for megakaryopoiesis in vivo and the rationale for its clinical use after allogeneic BMT.
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