Interleukin 3 is a pleiotropic factor produced primarily by activated T cells that can stimulate the proliferation and differentiation of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells as well as various lineage committed progenitors. In addition, IL-3 also affects the functional activity of mature mast cells, basophils, eosinophils and macrophages. Because of its multiple functions and targets, it was originally studied under different names, including mast cell growth factor, P-cell stimulating factor, burst promoting activity, multi-colony stimulating factor, thy-1 inducing factor and WEHI-3 growth factor.
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