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J Exp Med. 1990 October 1; 172(4): 1055–1063.
PMCID: PMC2188599

Long-term human hematopoiesis in the SCID-hu mouse


Coimplantation of small fragments of human fetal thymus and fetal liver into immunodeficient SCID mice resulted in the formation of a unique structure (Thy/Liv). Thereafter, the SCID-hu mice showed reproducible and long-term reconstitution of human hematopoietic activity. For periods lasting 5-11 mo after transplantation, active T lymphopoiesis was observed inside the grafts and cells that were negative for T cell markers were found to have colony-forming units for granulocyte/macrophage (CFU-GM) and erythroid burst-forming unit (BFU- E) activity in the methylcellulose colony assay. In addition, structures similar to normal human bone marrow were observed inside the Thy/Liv grafts, consisting of blast cells, mature and immature forms of myelomonocytic cells, and megakaryocytes. These data indicate long-term maintenance, in vivo, of human progenitor cells for the T lymphoid, myelomonocytic, erythroid, and megakaryocytic lineages. The role of the implanted fetal liver fragments was analyzed using HLA-mismatched Thy/Liv implants. The HLA type of the liver donor was found on T cells and macrophages in the graft. In addition, cells grown in the methylcellulose colony assay and cells in a bone marrow-like structure, the "thymic isle," expressed the HLA type of the liver donor. Thus, the Thy/Liv implants provided a microenvironment in which to follow human hematopoietic progenitor cells for multiple lineages. The formation of the Thy/Liv structures also results in a continuous source of human T cells in the peripheral circulation of the SCID-hu mouse. Though present for 5-11 mo, these cells did not engage in a xenograft (graft- versus-host) reaction. This animal model, the first in which multilineage human hematopoietic activity is maintained for long periods of time, should be useful for the analysis of human hematopoiesis in vivo.

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Selected References

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