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Background

In our Center, the cell viability, the integrity of the bag, and the clonogenic assay were evaluated before the reinfusion of hematopoietic progenitor cells–apheresis (HPC-A). This quality control (QC) should be made 14 days before the reinfusion to the patient to have the result of the functional test on the proliferative capacity of hematopoietic progenitors.

Study Design and Methods

This study was designed to assess the potential of an automatic cell counting system (NucleoCounter NC-3000, ChemoMetec) in our clinical routine as a support of the clonogenic assay and the cytofluorimetric analysis for the QC of the cryopreserved HPC-A. The cell viability was evaluated by flow cytometry using the modified International Society of Hematotherapy and Graft Engineering protocol. The proliferative potential was assessed by specific clonogenic tests using a commercial medium. Furthermore, we evaluated the cellular functionality with NucleoCounter NC-3000, by using two protocols: “vitality assay” and “mitochondrial potential assay.”

Results

The evaluation of the total nucleated cells in preapoptosis measured by 5,5,6,6-tetrachloro-1,1,3,3-tetraethylbenzimidazol-carbocyanine iodide (JC-1) assay showed a negative correlation (r = −0.43) with the total number of colonies (colony-forming unit [CFU]–granulocyte-macrophage progenitors plus burst-forming unit–erythroid progenitors plus CFU–granulocyte, erythroid, macrophage, megakaryocyte progenitors) obtained after seeding of 50 × 106/L viable total nucleated cells. We observed a significant difference (p < 0.0001) comparing the median number of colonies (166.70; SD, ±136.36) obtained with a value of JC-1 less than 30% to the number of colonies (61.75; SD, ±59.76) obtained with a value of JC-1 more than 30%.

Conclusion

The evaluation of cell functionality by the use of the NucleoCounter NC-3000 is in agreement with results from clonogenic assay and can be considered an effective alternative in the routine laboratory.