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Keywords:

  • Monoclonal antibodies;
  • Hematopoiesis;
  • Stem cells;
  • Colony-forming cells;
  • Cell surface antigens;
  • Flow cytometry;
  • Bone marrow;
  • Leukemia

Abstract

A single sample of bone marrow includes the entire range of the developmental process, since cells of all stages and lineages are present. By selecting appropriate monoclonal antibodies, marrow cells of different lineages can be identified, even in their immature forms. Maturationally different bone marrow cells can be distinguished on the basis of their cell surface antigen expression and physical characteristics on a flow cytometer. Antigenic markers can be used within a lineage to trace the development from colony-forming cells to functional blood cells. Changes in cellular markers are observed as smooth, quantitative increases or decreases in cellular antigen expression. After defining the composition of normal marrow, it is possible to identify perturbations from the steady state and to monitor the return to homeostasis. Cells at various stages can be enumerated, then isolated for further study. In particular, these studies provide for the identification, purification and manipulation of the earliest hematopoietic progenitor cells.