Macrophage colony-stimulating factor has not been considered as a factor responsible for dendritic cell or Langerhans cell development from hematopoietic progenitor cells. In this study, we examined whether macrophage colony-stimulating factor could be used instead of granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor for the in vitro development of Langerhans cells from hematopoietic progenitor cells. We replaced granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor with macrophage colony-stimulating factor from a serum-free culture containing granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, stem cell factor, Flt3 ligand, tumor necrosis factor-α, and transforming growth factor-β1. This serum-free culture medium containing macrophage colony-stimulating factor, but not granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (macrophage colony-stimulating factor culture), could induce CD1a+ Birbeck granule+ Langerin+ E-cadherin+ factor-like XIIIa Langerhans cells. As a control, the culture of hematopoietic progenitor cells in this culture medium depleted of macrophage colony-stimulating factor or transforming growth factor-β1 resulted in far fewer or null CD1a+ cells, respectively. Macrophage colony-stimulating factor increased the number of CD1a+ cells in a concentration-dependent fashion. These macrophage colony-stimulating factor-induced Langerhans cells were different from granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor-induced Langerhans cells in their decreased expression of CD11c and their immature phenotype. The decreased expression of CD11c, however, was recovered by culturing them with granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, while they acquired a mature phenotype qby granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-1α, or lipopolysaccharide. Macrophage colony-stimulating factor-induced Langerhans cells could stimulate allogeneic T cells. Interestingly, we could keep the growth and immature phenotypes of macrophage colony-stimulating factor-induced Langerhans cells for at least 28 d of culture. These studies demonstrated that macrophage colony-stimulating factor in cooperation with transforming growth factor-β1 could induce Langerhans cell development from hematopoietic progenitor cells in vitro without granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, which suggests the possibility that macrophage colony-stimulating factor plays a part in the Langerhans cell development in vivo. In addition, the culture using macrophage colony-stimulating factor presents a novel culture system to enable a large-scale and long-term culture of immature Langerhans cells.
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