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J Hematother. 1998 Aug;7(4):351-9.

Use of collagen for standardization of PBSC graft quality evaluation: a multicenter comparative analysis of commercial collagen-based and methylcellulose-based colony-forming unit (CFU) assay kits.

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  • 1Laboratoire d'Hématologie, CHU Grenoble, France.


The colony-forming unit-granulocyte-macrophage (CFU-GM) assay, an essential test in evaluation of the quality of autologous grafts of hematopoietic stem cells, has yet to be standardized. With this aim in view, we carried out a multicenter study of five commercially available culture kits for CFU-GM evaluation. Four kits were methylcellulose-based (H4431, H4434, H4435, StemBio1d) and one was collagen-based (EasyClone-Multi). Using fresh and frozen samples of PBSC grafts, we compared CFU-GM and burst-forming unit-erythrocytes (BFU-E) growth using the EasyClone kit to each of the methylcellulose kits. BFU-E and CFU-GM clonogenicity of both fresh and frozen PBSC was clearly inferior with the H4431 kit, which provides conditioned medium only. CFU-GM numbers obtained with fresh and frozen PBSC samples were significantly higher with the EasyClone kit than with the H4434 and StemBio kits. BFU-E numbers were also higher with the EasyClone kit, but only when colonies were scored after May-Grünwald-Giemsa (MGG) staining. Finally, although the H4435 kit provides higher doses of recombinant cytokines than the EasyClone kit, CFU-GM and BFU-E numbers obtained for fresh or frozen PBSC with both kits were similar. In addition, CFU-GM and BFU-E numbers correlated well with CD34+ cell numbers for all five kits for both fresh and frozen PBSC. In summary, our study shows that the EasyClone-Multi and H4435 kits provide the best CFU-GM growth. The collagen-based EasyClone kit has the additional advantage of allowing gel staining and storage, which facilitates colony identification and, more importantly, makes gel exchange possible for standardization of the CFU-GM assay.

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