Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) transplantations from umbilical cord blood or autologous HSCs for gene therapy purposes are hampered by limited number of stem cells. To test the ability to expand HSCs in vitro prior to transplantation, two growth factor cocktails containing stem cell factor, thrombopoietin, fms-related tyrosine kinase-3 ligand (STF) or stem cell factor, thrombopoietin, insulin-like growth factor-2, fibroblast growth factor-1 (STIF) either with or without the addition of angiopoietin-like protein-3 (Angptl3) were used. Culturing HSCs in STF and STIF media for 7 days expanded long-term repopulating stem cells content in vivo by ∼6-fold and ∼10-fold compared to freshly isolated stem cells. Addition of Angptl3 resulted in increased expansion of these populations by ∼17-fold and ∼32-fold, respectively, and was further supported by enforced expression of Angptl3 in HSCs through lentiviral transduction that also promoted HSC expansion. As expansion of highly purified lineage-negative, Sca-1<sup>+</sup>, c-Kit<sup>+</sup> HSCs was less efficient than less pure lineage-negative HSCs, Angptl3 may have a direct effect on HCS but also an indirect effect on accessory cells that support HSC expansion. No evidence for leukemia or toxicity was found during long-term follow up of mice transplanted with ex vivo expanded HSCs or manipulated HSC populations that expressed Angptl3. We conclude that the cytokine combinations used in this study to expand HSCs ex vivo enhances the engraftment in vivo. This has important implications for allogeneic umbilical cord-blood derived HSC transplantations and autologous HSC applications including gene therapy.,
Department of Pediatrics

Farahbakhshian, E., Verstegen, M., Visser, T., Kheradmandkia, S., Geerts, D., Arshad, S., … Meijerink, J. (2014). Angiopoietin-like protein 3 promotes preservation of stemness during Ex Vivo expansion of murine hematopoietic stem cells. PLoS ONE, 9(8). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0105642