How should CD34+ cells be analysed? A study of three classes of antibody and five leucocyte preparation procedures

J Immunol Methods. 1997 May 26;204(2):175-88. doi: 10.1016/s0022-1759(97)00045-8.


For patients undergoing stem cell transplantation after intensive marrow ablative therapy it is important to enumerate the CD34+ stem cells in peripheral blood so that the harvest can be timed in order to maximize the number of cells collected by leucophoresis for subsequent haematopoietic reconstitution. The use of rapid flow cytometric techniques for the determination CD34+ leucocyte numbers has been advocated, although there is no consensus as to the best method. In this study, we have examined the effects of preparation procedures for flow cytometry on the binding of four CD34 antibodies (Immu-133, QBEND-10, HPCA2 and BIRMA-K3) to the three classes of epitopes on leucocytes. Whole blood, bone marrow and leucophoresis samples were analysed either directly after labelling with a vital nuclear dye (LDS-751) and fluorochrome-conjugated antibodies or after additional erythrocyte lysis and leucocyte fixation using four commercially available reagents (Q-Prep, OptiLyse B, OptiLyse C and FACS Lysing Solution). By comparison with the results obtained from viable leucocytes in unmanipulated samples, it was found that the binding of all four antibodies could be affected by lysis and fixation procedures and that the binding of the class I antibody Immu-133 was most markedly decreased. We conclude that CD34+ cells are best analysed using a whole blood procedure in which nucleated cells are identified by their side light scatter and the fluorescence associated with a vital nuclear dye (in this instance LDS-751) and the CD34+ cells are detected with fluorescein isothiocyanate- or phycoerythrin-conjugated antibodies.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / immunology
  • Antigens, CD34 / analysis*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells*
  • Humans
  • Leukapheresis
  • Leukemia / blood
  • Leukemia / therapy*
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens / analysis
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Mice
  • Reticulocytes / immunology


  • Antibodies
  • Antigens, CD34
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens