Evaluation of bone marrow megakaryocyte ploidy distributions in persons with normal and abnormal platelet counts

J Lab Clin Med. 1988 Feb;111(2):194-202.


Using bone marrow smears of the type prepared routinely in clinical practice, we determined megakaryocyte ploidy distributions in five normal persons, eight patients with both normal platelet counts and normal bone marrow morphology, and 18 patients with quantitative platelet disorders. To include 2N and 4N megakaryocytes in the ploidy distribution histograms, all megakaryocytes were identified by serial immunologic labelling with rabbit antiserum to human platelet glycoproteins and rhodamine-conjugated goat anti-rabbit igG. Cell nuclei were concurrently Feulgen stained with bis-aminophenyl-oxdiazole, and the nuclear fluorescent signals were quantified photometrically. A modal megakaryocyte ploidy value of 32N was seen in 10 of the 13 persons with normal platelet counts, and geometric mean megakaryocyte ploidy values averaged 24.9N +/- 7.0N (arithmetic mean +/- SD). In these normal control individuals, 2N and 4N megakaryocytes accounted for 11.1% of all megakaryocytes, and 2.6% of the megakaryocytes were 128N. Shifts to a higher mean ploidy were observed in five of seven patients with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, resulting from increased percentages of 64N and 128N megakaryocytes at the expense of 4N, 8N, and 16N cells. Shifts to lower ploidy were demonstrated in two patients with acute myelogenous leukemia and one patient each with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura and isoimmune thrombocytopenia. Four of five patients with essential thrombocythemia had strikingly abnormal megakaryocyte ploidy histograms characterized by the presence of unusually high ploidy 256N and 512N megakaryocytes. These 256N and 512N cells were virtually unique to the patients with essential thrombocythemia.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Bone Marrow / pathology*
  • DNA / analysis
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Megakaryocytes / analysis
  • Megakaryocytes / pathology*
  • Platelet Count
  • Ploidies
  • Thrombocytopenia / pathology*
  • Thrombocytosis / pathology


  • DNA