Biological characterization of CD34+ cells mobilized into peripheral blood

R. M. Lemoli, A. Tafuri, A. Fortuna, L. Catani, D. Rondelli, M. Ratta, S. Tura

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We review here the functional and kinetic characteristics of highly purified hematopoietic CD34+ mobilized into peripheral blood (PB) by granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) with or without chemotherapy for autologous or allogeneic transplantation. Circulating CD34+ cells were evaluated for their colony-forming capacity and trilineage proliferative response to selected recombinant human (rh) CSF in vitro, and the content of very primitive long-term culture initiating cells (LTC-IC). In addition, the cycling status of PB CD34+ cells, including committed clonogenic progenitor cells and the more immature LTC-IC, was determined by the cytosine arabinoside (Ara-C) suicide test and the acridine orange (AO) flow cytometric technique. By comparison, bone marrow (BM) CD34+ cells from the same individuals were studied under steady-state conditions and during G-CSF administration. Clonogenic assays in methylcellulose showed the same frequency of colony-forming unit cells (CFU-C) when PB primed-CD34+ cells and BM cells were stimulated with phytohemagglutinin-lymphocyte-conditioned medium (PHA-LCM). However, mobilized CD34+ cells were significantly more responsive than their steady-state BM counterparts to interleukin-3 (IL-3) and stem cell factor (SCF) combined with G-CSF or IL-3 in the presence of erythropoietin (Epo). Conversely, circulating and BM megakaryocyte precursors (CFU-MK) showed the same clonogenic efficiency in response to IL-3, GM-CSF and IL-3, IL-6 and Epo. Interestingly, very few CD34+ cells expressed the Mpl receptor and this finding resulted in the lower proliferative response of mobilized CFU-MK to the Mpl-ligand (megakaryocyte growth and development factor; MGDF), as compared to BM cells. After 5 weeks of liquid culture supported by the engineered murine stromal cell line M2-10B4 to produce G-CSF and IL-3, we reported a similar frequency of LTC-IC in PB and steady-state BM. Kinetic studies on PB and BM CD34+ cells, including LTC-IC, showed the low number of circulating progenitor cells in S and G2M phase whereas simultaneous DNA/RNA analysis and the Ara-C suicide assay demonstrated that the majority of PB CD34+ cells and LTC-IC are not quiescent (ie in G0 phase) being in G1 phase. Moreover, G-CSF administration prevented apoptosis in a small but significant proportion of mobilized CD34+ cells. Thus, our results indicate that mobilized and BM CD34+ cells can be considered equivalent for the frequency of both committed and more immature hematopoietic progenitor cells, although they show different kinetic and functional profiles. A further set of experiments indicated that G-CSF treatment did not alter the alloantigen presenting function of CD34+ cells which was mainly mediated by the upregulation of costimulatory molecules upon coincubation with allogeneic T cells. Taken together, these findings should allow a better understanding of PBSC transplantation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBone Marrow Transplantation
Issue numberSUPPL. 5
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • CD34 cells
  • G-CSF
  • Mobilization
  • Stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Transplantation


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