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Additional cytokines (IL-3, IL-6, IL-11 and LIF) also promote a proliferative response in megakaryocytes. Although these exhibit some ability to increase platelet levels, the physiological significance of this remains unclear. TPO, on the other hand, induces a far swifter, greater and more specific response. In one study, its administration to mice over a period of 6 days resulted in a four-fold increase in platelet count (although some other studies reported a less pronounced effect). Furthermore, TPO administration to animals whose platelet production had been severely compromised by radio- or chemotherapy accelerated subsequent recovery of platelet numbers to normal values. The future clinical outlook for this haemopoietic growth factor looks bright.
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Chapter 7 Growth factors