Morphological features of apoptosis in hematopoietic cells belonging to the T-lymphoid and myeloid lineages.

A. Di Baldassarre, P. Secchiero, A. Grilli, C. Celeghini, E. Falcieri, G. Zauli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Taking into account that apoptosis plays a pivotal role in shaping normal hematopoiesis, morphological features of apoptosis were investigated in both primary cells and continuous cell lines committed towards the T-lymphoid and the myeloid lineages. Apoptosis was induced using: dexamethasone (10(-7) M) for primary rat thymocytes; infection with the T-lymphotropic human herpesvirus 7 (HHV-7) for peripheral blood CD4+ T-cells; staurosporine (1 microM) for MOLT4 CD4+ lymphoblastoid T-cells, HL60 human promyelocytic and U937 human monoblastoid cells; and using senescence of the culture for primary human megakaryocytes. Cell morphology was examined by both transmission electron microscopy and in situ nick translation (NT) revealed by laser scanning confocal microscopy. In spite of the use of different apoptotic agonists, the morphological aspects of apoptosis were similar within the T-lymphoid and the myeloid lineage. While chromatin condensation characterized the early apoptotic events in both lineages, late apoptoses were mainly characterized by further nuclear condensation in lymphoid cells and by production of micronuclei in myeloid cells. Moreover, NT analysis clearly showed that the micronuclei derived from HL60 undergoing apoptosis were composed of both degraded and intact DNA. Thus, T-lymphocytes and myeloid cells showed a lineage-related behavior characterizing the late morphological aspects of apoptosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-161
Number of pages9
JournalCellular and Molecular Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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