Expression of SSEA-I antigen (3-fucosyl-N-acetyl-lactosamine) on normal and leukaemic human haemopoietic cells: Modulation by neuraminidase treatment

A. Tabilio, M. C. Del Canizo, A. Henri, J. Guichard, P. Mannoni, C. I. Civin, U. Testa, H. Rochant, W. Vainchenker, J. Breton-Gorius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Several mouse monoclonal antibodies (MoAbs) considered specific for the myeloid lineage recognize the same carbohydrate structure (3-fucosyl-N-acetyl-lactosamine) which is similar to the murine antigen SSEA-I. We have investigated the expression of this antigen with six different well-characterized murine IgM MoAbs on normal, leukaemic, and cultured cells by immunofluorescence and immunoelectron microscope cytochemistry. The cells were studied before and after neuraminidase treatment since epitopes recognized by these MoAbs may be masked by sialic acid. Among the recognizable normal marrow or blood cells, all these MoAbs specifically labelled the granulocytic lineage from the promyelocyte to the polymorph. After neuraminidase treatment, monocytes became labelled. All the other lineages remained unstained. Several cell lines were studied. Six of eight lymphoblastoid cell lines were stained by these MoAbs; reactivity was increased by neuraminidase. One Burkitt cell line and two T cell lines were also found to be positive. These antibodies were tested on leukaemic cells. In acute non-lymphocytic leukaemia they usually labelled promyelocytes, more mature granulocytic and monocytic precursors but did not label myeloblasts; after neuraminidase treatment, these myeloblasts became stained. No labelling was observed on leukaemic proerythroblasts and promegakaryoblast before and after neuraminidase treatment except in one case of promegakaryoblastic leukaemia in which the SSEA-I antigen and platelet peroxidase were expressed in the same cell. In addition, six cases of common acute lymphoblastic leukaemia were studied; the blasts became positive after desialylation. Two examples of T cell acute leukaemia were essentially negative. We conclude, therefore, that the reactivity of haemopoietic cells with these MoAbs alone does not represent a criterion sufficient to sustain their myeloid origin since the SSEA-I antigen may be expressed at the surface of all cell lineages in the early phases of haemopoietic differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)697-710
Number of pages14
JournalBritish Journal of Haematology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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