Cytokines that stimulate platelet production may act on early, uncommitted progenitors promoting commitment along the megakaryocytic (MK) lineage or may promote survival so that this commitment can occur without a direct influence. Cytokines with potential activity on platelet production currently available for clinical testing include the following: interleukin-3 (IL-3), stem cell factor (SCF), IL-6, IL-11, and thrombopoietin (TPO). IL-11 and TPO have been used in clinical trials to ameliorate chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia. However, they have significant side effects and are not routinely used. Trials regarding use of cytokines in treatment of thrombocytopenia are ongoing.
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