Ultrastructural features of CD34+ hematopoietic progenitor cells from bone marrow, peripheral blood and umbilical cord blood

G. L. Deliliers, L. Caneva, R. Fumiatti, F. Servida, P. Rebulla, L. Lecchi, E. De Harven, D. Soligo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hematopoietic progenitor cells from different sources have been widely characterized, but their ultrastructural morphology has never been described in detail. In this study, imunomagnetically separated CD34+ cells from normal bone marrow (BM), mobilized peripheral blood (PBSC) and human umbilical cord blood (CB) were studied by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) using a cytochemical method which reveals endogenous myelo-peroxidase (MPO) activity. This technique is particularly suited for detecting early signs of the myeloid commitment. The CD34+ cells from PBSC were morphologically very homogeneous and 94.7 ± 4.5% of these cells were MPO-: these ultrastructural features are generally considered typical of immature cells. The CD34+ BM cells were instead more heterogeneous, with 24.6 ± 7.4% showing intense MPO activity. The ultrastructural characteristics of CB cells fell between those observed in PBSC and BM, but there was a high percentage of morphologically immature cells with no evidence of MPO activity (about 83%). The number of apoptotic cells within samples from different sources was also examined both by TEM and flow cytometry. The percentage of apoptotic cells was 0.7% in PBSC, 2.3% in BM, 2.9% in CB from vaginal delivery and 11.6% in CB from cesarean section. These observations confirm the relative phenotypic immaturity of CB in comparison with BM cells; they also suggest that CB collected after cesarean section may be associated with reduced stem cells viability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)699-708
Number of pages10
JournalLeukemia and Lymphoma
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Bone marrow
  • CD34 hematopoietic stem cells
  • Cord blood
  • Mobilized peripheral blood stem cells
  • Myeloperoxidase
  • Ultrastructure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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