Comparison of single and dual platform methodologies for the estimation of CD34+ hematopoietic progenitor cells: Correlation with colony assay

S. Moretti, M. Dabusti, B. Castagnari, A. Tieghi, L. Ferrari, D. Campioni, M. Punturieri, M. Dominici, G. L. Castoldi, Francesco Lanza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study three assays for the enumeration of CD34+ progenitors were compared: 1) a modified version of the Milan protocol, used in the standard dual-platform format; 2) a dual-platform version of the ISHAGE protocol; 3) the ProCOUNT software version 2.0/ProCOUNT kit. The assays were compared to validate the accuracy of CD34+ cell counts in mobilized peripheral blood (PB), apheresis products (AP), and cord blood (CB). The ProCOUNT protocol uses reference beads for absolute CD34+ cell counting, whereas CD34 counts by other techniques are derived from a separate leukocyte count performed by a hematology analyzer. A good correlation between the ISHAGE and ProCOUNT methods was obtained for estimation of CD34+ counts in PB (n=42 samples analyzed) and AP (n=35) - except for samples having a leukocyte count >25 × 109/L or a CD34 count 9/L) - while a suboptimal correlation between the methods was observed for CB (n=30). The ProCOUNT system proved to be effective in reducing the variability in CD34+ cell counting and appeared to be useful for intralaboratory methodology standardization. The main disadvantage of the ProCOUNT assay was its inability to calculate CD34 counts in leukopenic samples and in CB samples showing a high erythroblast count. As far as the correlation with hematopoietic colonies is concerned, data collected from apheresis samples showed a good correlation between the three flow cytometry methods and colony-forming unit granulocyte-macrophage (CFU-GM) counts, confirming the value of the flow cytometric test as a real-time, truly predictive test to measure the hematopoietic potential of the graft. In summary, all methods are suitable for enumeration of most PB samples, while the single-platform methodology should be preferred for the analysis of AP and CB. We also found the dual-platform format of the ISHAGE method precise and accurate for the estimation of CD34+ cells from CB samples. Based on these data it can be concluded that the single-platform flow cytometry assay format should be the preferred approach for CD34+ stem cell enumeration in different types of samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-267
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Biological Markers
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2002


  • CD34+ cells
  • Clonogenic assay
  • Cord blood
  • Flow cytometry
  • Mobilized blood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Biochemistry


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