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Bone Marrow Transplant. 2005 May;35(9):909-14.

Aldehyde dehydrogenase activity as a marker for the quality of hematopoietic stem cell transplants.

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  • 1Bone Marrow Transplantation Center, University Hospital Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.


Taking advantage of fluorescent substrates for their metabolic marker aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) were defined as SSC(lo)ALDH(br) - reflecting their low orthogonal light scattering and bright fluorescence intensity in flow cytometry. Based thereon, we investigated the usefulness of ALDH activity for characterizing HSC graft quality, particularly under stress conditions. We first compared the expression of ALDH vs CD34 in bone marrow and peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) samples over 7 days. We noted that (i) only ALDH activity but not CD34 expression strongly reflected colony-forming ability over time, and that (ii) PBSC grafts stored at room temperature lost most of their progenitor cells within just 48 h. We then retrospectively related ALDH and CD34 expression as well as granulocyte-macrophage colony-forming units (CFU-GM) potential for 19 cryopreserved allogeneic PBSC grafts to engraftment data. Strikingly, in all six patients who received markedly decreased numbers of SSC(lo)ALDH(br) cells, this was associated not only with almost complete loss of CFU-GM potential but also with delayed establishment/permanent absence of full hematopoietic donor cell chimerism, whereas all other patients showed early complete donor chimerism. In conclusion, we suggest to measure ALDH activity as a surrogate marker for HSC activity, and to transport and store PBSC under controlled cooling conditions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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