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Bioinorganic Chemistry and Applications
Volume 2015, Article ID 751013, 6 pages
Research Article

Arsenic Primes Human Bone Marrow CD34+ Cells for Erythroid Differentiation

1Key Laboratory of Cardiovascular Remodeling and Function Research, Qilu Hospital, Shandong University, Jinan, Shandong 250012, China
2Department of Oncology and Pathology (CCK), R8:03, Karolinska University Hospital, Solna, 17176 Stockholm, Sweden
3Department of Hematology, Qilu Hospital, Shandong University, Jinan, Shandong 250012, China

Received 11 November 2014; Revised 20 May 2015; Accepted 26 May 2015

Academic Editor: Francesco P. Fanizzi

Copyright © 2015 Yuanyuan Zhang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Arsenic trioxide exhibits therapeutic effects on certain blood malignancies, at least partly by modulating cell differentiation. Previous in vitro studies in human hematopoietic progenitor cells have suggested that arsenic may inhibit erythroid differentiation. However, these effects were all observed in the presence of arsenic compounds, while the concomitant cytostatic and cytotoxic actions of arsenic might mask a prodifferentiating activity. To eliminate the potential impacts of the cytostatic and cytotoxic actions of arsenic, we adopted a novel protocol by pretreating human bone marrow CD34+ cells with a low, noncytotoxic concentration of arsenic trioxide, followed by assaying the colony forming activities in the absence of the arsenic compound. Bone marrow specimens were obtained from chronic myeloid leukemia patients who achieved complete cytogenetic remission. CD34+ cells were isolated by magnetic-activated cell sorting. We discovered that arsenic trioxide enhanced the erythroid colony forming activity, which was accompanied by a decrease in the granulomonocytic differentiation function. Moreover, in erythroleukemic K562 cells, we showed that arsenic trioxide inhibited erythrocyte maturation, suggesting that arsenic might have biphasic effects on erythropoiesis. In conclusion, our data provided the first evidence showing that arsenic trioxide could prime human hematopoietic progenitor cells for enhanced erythroid differentiation.