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The mechanism of estrogen-induced myelotoxicosis is unknown, although evidence indicates that estrogen does not directly damage the bone marrow granulocyte-macrophage progenitor cells and that the thymus is a probable mediator of the bone marrow suppression. Estrogen-induced production of a myelopoiesis-inhibitory factor by canine thymic stromal cells in vitro has been observed. Then, presence of a myelopoiesis-inhibitory factor in canine serum was investigated immediately after estrogen administration in vivo. Maximal reduction in colony-forming units-granulocyte/macrophage growth by sera from individual dogs varied. Individual dog sensitivity to estrogen-induced myelotoxicosis is seen clinically, and the cause is unknown. This serum factor could have a role in the eventual bone marrow hypoplasia seen in estrogen-treated dogs and is possibly the same factor produced by cultured thymic stromal cells exposed to estrogen.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research