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J Leukoc Biol. 2004 Feb;75(2):314-23. Epub 2003 Nov 21.

Gene-expression profiling of CD34+ cells from various hematopoietic stem-cell sources reveals functional differences in stem-cell activity.

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  • 1Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam, Dr. Molewaterplein 50, 3015 GE Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


The replacement of bone marrow (BM) as a conventional source of stem cell (SC) by umbilical cord blood (UCB) and granulocyte-colony stimulating factor-mobilized peripheral blood SC (PBSC) has brought about clinical advantages. However, several studies have demonstrated that UCB CD34(+) cells and PBSC significantly differ from BM CD34(+) cells qualitatively and quantitatively. Here, we quantified the number of SC in purified BM, UCB CD34(+) cells, and CD34(+) PBSC using in vitro and in vivo assays for human hematopoietic SC (HSC) activity. A cobblestone area-forming cell (CAFC) assay showed that UCB CD34(+) cells contained the highest frequency of CAFC(wk6) (3.6- to tenfold higher than BM CD34(+) cells and PBSC, respectively), and the engraftment capacity in vivo by nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficiency repopulation assay was also significantly greater than BM CD34(+), with a higher proportion of CD45(+) cells detected in the recipients at a lower cell dose. To understand the molecular characteristics underlying these functional differences, we performed several DNA microarray experiments using Affymetrix gene chips, containing 12,600 genes. Comparative analysis of gene-expression profiles showed differential expression of 51 genes between BM and UCB CD34(+) SC and 64 genes between BM CD34(+) cells and PBSC. These genes are involved in proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, and engraftment capacity of SC. Thus, the molecular expression profiles reported here confirmed functional differences observed among the SC sources. Moreover, this report provides new insights to describe the molecular phenotype of CD34(+) HSC and leads to a better understanding of the discrepancy among the SC sources.

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