Determination of the proliferative fractions in differentiating hematopoietic cell lineages of normal bone marrow

Kelly P. H. Nies, Raisa Kraaijvanger, Kim H. K. Lindelauf, Roosmarie J. M. R. Drent, Ronald M. J. Rutten, Frans C. S. Ramaekers, Math P. G. Leers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Because of the proven prognostic value of Ki-67 as a proliferation marker in several types of solid cancers, our goal is to develop and validate a multiparameter flow cytometric assay for the determination of the Ki-67 expression in hemato-oncological diseases. The aim of the present study was to establish the reference values for the fraction of Ki-67 positive cells in and during maturation of individual hematopoietic cell lineages present in normal bone marrow. Aspirates derived from femoral heads of 50 patients undergoing a hip replacement were used for the flow cytometric quantification of Ki-67 expression in the different hematopoietic cell populations of healthy bone marrow. Furthermore, the proliferative index was investigated in detail for the maturation steps during erythro-, myelo-, and monopoiesis using recently described immunophenotypic profiles in combination with a software-based maturation tool. Reference values for the proliferative index were established for different relevant hematopoietic cell populations in healthy bone marrow. During maturation, the size of the Ki-67 positive fraction was the highest in the most immature compartment of the myeloid, monocytic, and erythroid cell lineages, followed by a steady decline upon cell maturation. While proerythroblasts showed a proliferative activity of almost 100%, the myelo- and monoblast showed a lower proliferative index of on average of 50%, indicating that a relatively large proportion of these cells exist in a quiescent state. In conclusion, we can state that when using a novel combination of immunophenotypic markers, the proliferation marker (Ki-67) and a software-based maturation tool, it was possible to determine the proliferative fractions in the diverse hematopoietic cell lineages in bone marrow, in particular during maturation. Using this approach, the proliferative indices for the normal myelo-, mono-, and erythropoiesis were determined, which can be used as a reference in future studies of hematologic malignancies originating from bone marrow. (c) 2018 International Society for Advancement of Cytometry

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1097-1105
Number of pages9
JournalCytometry Part A
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


  • proliferation
  • multiparameter flow cytometry
  • Ki-67 antigen
  • maturation pathway
  • KI-67


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