An acquired somatic mutation, Jak2V617F, was recently discovered in most patients with polycythemia vera (PV), chronic idiopathic myelofibrosis (CIMF), and essential thrombocythemia (ET). To investigate the role of this mutation in vivo, we transplanted bone marrow (BM) transduced with a retrovirus expressing either Jak2 wild-type (wt) or Jak2V617F into lethally irradiated syngeneic recipient mice. Expression of Jak2V617F, but not Jak2wt, resulted in clinicopathologic features that closely resembled PV in humans. These included striking elevation in hemoglobin level/hematocrit, leukocytosis, megakaryocyte hyperplasia, extramedullary hematopoiesis resulting in splenomegaly, and reticulin fibrosis in the bone marrow. Histopathologic and flow cytometric analyses showed an increase in maturing myeloid lineage progenitors, although megakaryocytes showed decreased polyploidization and staining for acetylcholinesterase. In vitro analysis of primary cells showed constitutive activation of Stat5 and cytokine-independent growth of erythroid colony-forming unit (CFU-E) and erythropoietin hypersensitivity, and Southern blot analysis for retroviral integration indicated that the disease was oligoclonal. Furthermore, we observed strain-specific differences in phenotype, with Balb/c mice demonstrating markedly elevated leukocyte counts, splenomegaly, and reticulin fibrosis compared with C57Bl/6 mice. We conclude that Jak2V617F expression in bone marrow progenitors results in a PV-like syndrome with myelofibrosis and that there are strain-specific modifiers that may in part explain phenotypic pleiotropy of Jak2V617F-associated myeloproliferative disease in humans.
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