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Cytometry. 1991;12(1):42-9.

Modalities of synthesis of Ki67 antigen during the stimulation of lymphocytes.

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Laboratoire d'Hématologie, Hôpital Cardiologique, Pessac, France.


The antibody Ki67 is currently used to evaluate the proliferative fraction of solid tumors and some hematological malignancies. We have used phytohemagglutinin (PHA)-stimulated peripheral blood lymphocytes as a model to study the entry of quiescent cells into cell cycle and to follow their progress to the next cycle. Flow cytometric analysis of lymphocyte samples stained with the antibody Ki67 and a DNA marker has allowed us to follow the expression of Ki67 antigen (Ki67 Ag) as a function of the position of the cells in the cell cycle. The use of drugs blocking the stimulated lymphocytes in different phases of the cell cycle permitted us to demonstrate that Ki67 Ag expression started from the beginning of the first S phase. The level of Ki67 Ag increased during S phase until mitosis, when its expression was maximal. After division, the cells in G1 phase showed a decrease in Ki67 Ag expression (possibly corresponding to degradation) until they reentered S phase, when the level of Ki67 Ag increased again. The results confirm that the expression of Ki67 Ag is related to the proliferative state of the cells and suggest that it may be used to determine the proliferative cell fraction in hematopoietic tissues.

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