Primitive hematopoietic cells in murine bone marrow express the CD34 antigen

Blood. 1996 Nov 15;88(10):3774-84.


The CD34 antigen is expressed on most, if not all, human hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and hematopoietic progenitor cells, and its use for the enrichment of HSCs with repopulating potential is well established. However, despite homology between human and murine CD34, its expression on subsets of primitive murine hematopoietic cells has not been examined in full detail. To address this issue, we used a novel monoclonal antibody against murine CD34 (RAM34) to fractionate bone marrow (BM) cells that were then assayed in vitro and in vivo with respect to differing functional properties. A total of 4% to 17% of murine BM cells expressed CD34 at intermediate to high levels, representing a marked improvement over the resolution obtained with previously described polyclonal anti-CD34 antibodies. Sixty percent of CD34+ BM cells lacked lineage (Lin) markers expressed on mature lymphoid or myeloid cells. Eighty-five percent of Sca-1+Thy-1(10)Lin-/10 cells that are highly enriched in HSCs expressed intermediate, but not high, levels of CD34 antigen. The remainder of these phenotypically defined stem cells were CD34-. In vitro colony-forming cells, day-8 and -12 spleen colony-forming units (CFU-S), primitive progenitors able to differentiate into B lymphocytes in vitro or into T lymphocytes in SCID mice, and stem cells with radioprotective and competitive long-term repopulating activity were all markedly enriched in the CD34+ fraction after single-parameter cell sorting. In contrast, CD34-BM cells were depleted of such activities at the cell doses tested and were capable of only short-term B-cell production in vitro. The results indicate that a significant proportion of murine HSCs and multilineage progenitor cells express detectable levels of CD34, and that the RAM34 monoclonal antibody is a useful tool to subset primitive murine hematopoietic cells. These findings should facilitate more direct comparisons of the biology of CD34+ murine and human stem and progenitor cells.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Antigens, CD34 / immunology
  • Antigens, CD34 / metabolism*
  • B-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • Bone Marrow Cells*
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation
  • Cell Lineage
  • Colony-Forming Units Assay
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred AKR
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Radiation Chimera
  • Species Specificity
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, CD34