Identification of lactoferrin as the granulocyte-derived inhibitor of colony-stimulating activity production*
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Lactoferrin (LF), the iron-binding protein present in the specific granules of mature granulocytes has been identified as colony inhibitory factor (CIF) which suppresses granulocyte--macrophage colony stimulating activity (CSA) production by monocytes and macrophages in vitro and rebound granulopoiesis in vivo. Separation of LF and CIF by isoelectric focusing confirmed that the regions of inhibitory activity corresponded in both to a pH of congruent to 6.5. In addition, the purified immunoglobulin fraction of rabbit anti-human LF antiserum, but not rabbit anti-transferrin (TF), inactivated the capacity of LF and CIF to inhibit CSA production, an effect blocked by prior incubation of anti-LF with neutralizing concentrations of LF. Suppression of CSA production correlated with the iron-saturation of LF; APO-LF (depleted of iron) was only active concentrations greater than 10(-7) M, native LF (8% iron saturated) was active at 10(-15) M, and fully iron-saturated LF inhibited at 10(-17) M. Suppression of CSA production occurred within a 1/2-h preincubation period with human blood monocytes but was reversed by bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS). This reversal was dependent on the relative concentrations of LF to LPS. Serum TF, a biochemically similar iron-binding protein which is antigenically distinct from LF, was only minimally active at concentrations greater than 10(-6) M. LF did not inhibit exogenously stimulated human granylocyte and macrophage colony-forming cells or erythropoietin-dependent human or murine erythroid colony- or erythroid burst-forming cells. Microgram quantities of LF acted in vivo to inhibit rebound granulopoiesis and CSA production in CD1 and C57Bl/6 mice pretreated with cyclophosphamide. These results strongly implicate LF as a physiological regulator of granulopoiesis.