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Extended flow cytometry characterization of normal bone marrow progenitor cells by simultaneous detection of aldehyde dehydrogenase and early hematopoietic antigens: implication for erythroid differentiation studies

Author(s): Mirabelli Peppino | Di Noto Rosa | Lo Pardo Catia | Morabito Paolo | Abate Giovanna | Gorrese Marisa | Raia Maddalena | Pascariello Caterina | Scalia Giulia | Gemei Marica | Mariotti Elisabetta | Del Vecchio Luigi

Journal: BMC Physiology
ISSN 1472-6793

Volume: 8;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 13;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Abstract Background Aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) is a cytosolic enzyme highly expressed in hematopoietic precursors from cord blood and granulocyte-colony stimulating factor mobilized peripheral blood, as well as in bone marrow from patients with acute myeloblastic leukemia. As regards human normal bone marrow, detailed characterization of ALDH+ cells has been addressed by one single study (Gentry et al, 2007). The goal of our work was to provide new information about the dissection of normal bone marrow progenitor cells based upon the simultaneous detection by flow cytometry of ALDH and early hematopoietic antigens, with particular attention to the expression of ALDH on erythroid precursors. To this aim, we used three kinds of approach: i) multidimensional analytical flow cytometry, detecting ALDH and early hematopoietic antigens in normal bone marrow; ii) fluorescence activated cell sorting of distinct subpopulations of progenitor cells, followed by in vitro induction of erythroid differentiation; iii) detection of ALDH+ cellular subsets in bone marrow from pure red cell aplasia patients. Results In normal bone marrow, we identified three populations of cells, namely ALDH+CD34+, ALDH-CD34+ and ALDH+CD34- (median percentages were 0.52, 0.53 and 0.57, respectively). As compared to ALDH-CD34+ cells, ALDH+CD34+ cells expressed the phenotypic profile of primitive hematopoietic progenitor cells, with brighter expression of CD117 and CD133, accompanied by lower display of CD38 and CD45RA. Of interest, ALDH+CD34- population disclosed a straightforward erythroid commitment, on the basis of three orders of evidences. First of all, ALDH+CD34- cells showed a CD71bright, CD105+, CD45- phenotype. Secondly, induction of differentiation experiments evidenced a clear-cut expression of glycophorin A (CD235a). Finally, ALDH+CD34- precursors were not detectable in patients with pure red cell aplasia (PRCA). Conclusion Our study, comparing surface antigen expression of ALDH+/CD34+, ALDH-/CD34+ and ALDH+/CD34- progenitor cell subsets in human bone marrow, clearly indicated that ALDH+CD34- cells are mainly committed towards erythropoiesis. To the best of our knowledge this finding is new and could be useful for basic studies about normal erythropoietic differentiation as well as for enabling the employment of ALDH as a red cell marker in polychromatic flow cytometry characterization of bone marrow from patients with aplastic anemia and myelodysplasia.
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