Send to

Choose Destination
Exp Hematol. 2002 May;30(5):481-7.

Quantitative assessment of gene expression in highly purified hematopoietic cells using real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction.

Author information

Department of Hematology and Central Hematology Laboratory, University Medical Center Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.



Quantitative assessment of gene expression in stem cells is essential for understanding the molecular events underlying normal and malignant hematopoiesis. The aim of the present study was to develop a method for precise quantitation of gene expression in small subsets of highly purified CD34(+)CD38(-) stem cell populations.


Real-time quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was used to quantitate housekeeping and drug resistance gene expression in cDNA obtained from 300 CD34(+)CD38(-) cells without cDNA amplification or nested PCR techniques.


Validation experiments in cell lines showed efficient, representative and reproducible gene amplification using 300-cell real-time quantitative RT-PCR. Sensitivity was confirmed in dilutional experiments and by detection of the low-copy gene PBGD. GAPDH was found to be a useful reference gene in normal and leukemic CD34(+)CD38(-) cells. In contrast, 18S rRNA content varied 100-fold to 1000-fold in these populations. Moreover, expression of 18S rRNA was significantly lower in leukemic CD34(+)CD38(+) cells compared to normal CD34(+)CD38(+) cells (p = 0.002). Expression of MDR-1 (18-fold, p < 0.0005), MRP-1 (3.8-fold, p < 0.05), and LRP (1.8-fold, NS) was higher in normal CD34(+)CD38(-) compared to CD34(+)CD38(+) cells.


Real-time quantitative RT-PCR is a valuable tool for precise quantitation of gene expression in small subsets of hematopoietic cells. Using this method, we showed the inappropriateness of 18S as a reference gene in these progenitors and the down-regulation of drug-resistance-related genes early in hematopoiesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center