Flow cytometric analysis of megakaryocyte-associated antigens on CD34 cells and their progeny in liquid culture

Irmel A. Ayala, Aaron Tomer, Kathryn L. Kellar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Three-color flow cytometry was used to analyze the coexpression of surface antigens on megakaryocytes (MKs) developing in liquid cultures of enriched CD34+ cells purified from cord blood. Cells were cultured in serum-replete medium supplemented with interleukin 3 (IL-3), stem cell factor and IL-6. During two weeks of culture, total cells increased 76 ± 36-fold. CD34+ cells maximally expanded between days 2 and 4, and then gradually decreased to their original input numbers by day 14. As CD34+ cells declined, MKs, defined as glycoprotein (GP) IIbIIIa+ cells, steadily increased in culture 20.9 ± 18.3-fold. Megakaryopoiesis was further defined by monitoring the expression of GPs IIb, IIIa, Ib, IbIX, and IIIb and c-kit antigen. Increased expression of GPs IIbIIIa and IIb occurred earliest in culture, followed by IIIa and Ib, and then IbIX. Expression of IIIb, also found on monocytes, did not parallel that of the other antigens except when coexpressed on IIbIIIa+ cells. c-kit expression paralleled that of CD34 until the second week of culture when expression was high on nonMKs. Each of these antigens was coexpressed on CD34+ cells and identified a subset of late MK progenitors that increased steadily in culture. Triple-labeled cells expressing CD34, IIbIIIa and a third MK-related antigen were seen at all times. Polyploid MKs of up to 32N were observed during the second week of culture. Multiparametric flow cytometry proved to be a rapid, sensitive and specific method for quantitating the changes in antigen expression of differentiating MKs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-329
Number of pages10
JournalStem Cells
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • CD34 cells
  • Glycoprotein IIbIIIa
  • IL-6
  • Megakaryocytes
  • Three-color flow cytometry
  • c-kit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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