Long-term marrow culture in patients with aplastic anemia compared with marrow transplant recipients and normal controls

A. Bacigalupo, O. Figari, J. Tong, G. Piaggio, S. Miceli, F. Frassoni, P. Caciagli, G. Badolati, A. M. Marmont

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Patients with severe aplastic anemia (SAA; n = 46) were studied in long-term bone marrow culture (LTBMC) systems and compared with allogeneic marrow transplant (BMT) recipients (n = 16) (within 30 days following BMT) and normal control patients (n = 12). SAA patients were divided in two groups: transfusion-dependent (Tx-D) SAA patients (group A; n = 15) and transfusion-independent (Tx-I) patients after treatment with antilymphocyte globulin (group B; n = 31). Cultures were analyzed at three levels: stromal layer (SL) formation (score: 0, no SL; 1, half confluent SL; and 2, confluent SL), number of nucleated cells in suspension, and growth of CFU-GM colonies. SL formation was rapid and complete in SAA patients, groups A and B (mean score on day 14: 1.3 and 1.4), similar to controls (mean score on day 14: 1.3), whereas an impairment of SL formation was seen in BMT recipients (mean score on day 14: 1.0). The number of nucleated cells in suspension increased significantly on day 7 of culture in controls (7.6-fold), significantly more than in BMT and SAA patients, and declined thereafter. Colony formation was also significantly increased on day 7 in Tx-I SAA patients, BMT recipients, and normal controls (4-, 5-, and 16-fold, respectively), lasting respectively 2, 3, and 4 weeks. Increments of colony formation were also obtained in Tx-D SAA patients, but in the first week of culture only. In conclusion: 1) a significant impairment of SL formation was seen in BMT recipients, but not in SAA patients; 2) a significant increment of granulocyte-macrophage colony-forming units (CFU-GM) growth can be obtained in patients with marrow failure early after starting long-term culture; 3) the number of CFU-GM grown in these culture conditions from Tx-I SAA patients parallels the number of progenitors from early post-BMT recipients; and 4) progenitor cells from Tx-D SAA patients are not only reduced in numbers, but also exhibit a poor ability to survive in LTBMC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-430
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental Hematology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1992


  • aplastic anemia
  • bone marrow transplantation
  • long-term culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Cell Biology
  • Genetics
  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Transplantation


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