Immunocytochemistry and flow cytometry evaluation of human megakaryocytes in fresh samples and cultures of CD34+ cells

Xiaoying Qiao*, Maureen Loudovaris, Kristen Unverzagt, Donald E. Walker, Stephen L. Smith, Jeffrey Martinson, Marta Schilling, Wanda Lee, Stephanie F. Williams, Dennis E. Van Epps, Isaac Cohen, James G. Bender

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Adhering platelets on the cell surface can give misleading results when doing now cytometry analysis of platelet/megakaryocyte-specific glycoprotein (GP) antigens to enumerate megakaryocytes (MK) in mobilized peripheral blood (PB), apheresis products, or normal bone marrow (BM). For adequate quantification and characterization of human MK, we examined samples with parallel now cytometry and immunocytochemistry. MK expression of GP IIb/IIIa (CD41a), GP Ib (CD42b), GP IIIa (CD61), CD45, CD33, and CD11b, and their light scatter properties were evaluated. Fresh samples of low density mononuclear cells (MNC) or purified CD34+ cells contained 10-45% of platelet-coated cells. Platelet-coated cells decreased dramatically after several days of incubation in a serum-free medium supplemented with stem cell factor. IL-3. IL-6. and/or GM-CSF. Between d 9-12. now cytometry detected a distinct CD41a+ MK population. 8.3 ± 1.3% in BM CD34 cell cultures (n = 7) and 13.1 ± 2.1 in PB CD34 cell cultures (n = 14). comparable to immunocytochemistry data (7.8 ± 1.9% and 16.4 ± 2.6%. respectively). CD41a stained a higher proportion of MK than CD42b or CD61. while CD42b+ or CD61+ cells contained more morphologically mature MK than CD41a+ cells in cultures containing aplastic serum. When fluorescence emission of CD41a was plotted against forward-light scatter (FSC). subpopulations of small and large MK were observed. Such subpopulations overlapped in CD41a Intensity and side-light scatter (SSC) property. Most MK co-expressed CD45 (98.8% positive) but not CD33 (80.7% negative) or CD11b (88.9% negative). Our data indicate that now cytometry can be used effectively to identify MK. However. caution should be taken with samples containing adherent platelets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)250-259
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • CD34
  • CD41a
  • CD45
  • Human megakaryocyte
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • Now cytometry
  • Platelet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Biophysics
  • Hematology
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology

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