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Blood. 2001 Jun 15;97(12):3683-90.

Identification of a novel, human multilymphoid progenitor in cord blood.

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  • 1Division of Research Immunology/Bone Marrow Transplantation, Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles, 4650 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA.


The earliest stages of lymphoid commitment from human pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells have not been defined. A clonogenic subpopulation of CD34(+)CD38(-) cord blood cells were identified that expressed high levels of the CD7 antigen and possessed only lymphoid potential. CD34(+)CD38(-)CD7(+) (CD7(+)) cells uniformly coexpressed CD45RA and HLA-DR; c-kit and Thy-1 expression was absent to low. Clonal analysis demonstrated that single CD7(+) cells could generate B cells, natural killer cells, and dendritic cells but were devoid of myeloid or erythroid potential. In contrast, control CD34(+)CD38(-)CD7(-) (CD7(-)) cells generated both lymphoid and myelo-erythroid cells. The lymphoid potential (generation of lymphoid progeny in bulk and single cell cultures) of CD7(+) cells was equivalent to that of the pluripotent CD7(-) cells. RNA expression studies showed that CD7(+) cells expressed PU.1 and GATA-3, but did not express Pax-5, terminal deoxynucleotide transferase, or CD3epsilon. In contrast to the previously described murine common lymphoid progenitor, the alpha chain of the receptor for interleukin-7 was not detected by fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis or RNA polymerase chain reaction in CD7(+) cells. These studies identify a clonogenic lymphoid progenitor with both B-cell and natural killer cell lineage potential with a molecular profile that suggests a developmental stage more primitive than previously identified lymphoid progenitors. The CD7(+) phenotype distinguishes primitive human lymphoid progenitors from pluripotent stem cells, thus allowing the study of regulation of early human lymphopoiesis and providing an alternative to pluripotent stem cells for genetic manipulation and transplantation. (Blood. 2001;97:3683-3690)

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