Flow cytometric detection of rare normal human marrow cells with immunophenotypes characteristic of acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells

Craig A. Hurwitz, Steven D. Gore, Kelly D. Stone, Curt I. Civin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Rare subpopulations of normal marrow B lymphoid cells expressing immunophenotypes typically found in B-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukamias (ALL) were sought by multiparameter flow cytometry. First, CD34+ marrow leukocytes were isolated by immune adherence using immunomagnetic microspheres, and analyzed for coexpression of the following pairs of membrane antigens: CD34 CD22; C034 CD20; and CD10 CD22. Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase expression was not assessed. All three antigen combinations were found on small percentages of the CD34-enriched cell population. Second, unseparated normal low density marrow leukocytes were examined by 'gating' on cells with the right-angle light scatter of lymphoid cells, plus either CD34+ or CD10+ immunofluorescence. This independent approach confirmed that rare subsets of normal cells coexpress 'immature' and 'mature' differentiation antigens. In addition, remission marrow cells were examined from two children who had completed therapy for ALL two and four months earlier. Both specimens had a more than threefold increase in CD34+ cells over normal marrow, and cells coexpressing immature and mature cell surface antigens were easily detected. These findings demonstrate that immunophenotypes characteristic of B-lineage ALL, previously labeled 'asynchronous' with respect to the developmental sequence of the majority of normal B lymphoid cells, exist at low frequency in normal human bone marrow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-239
Number of pages7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1992


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Cancer Research

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