BACKGROUND: Progenitor assays are the principal method for evaluating hematopoietic cell function. The magnitude of assay variability and the assay steps contributing to variability were determined, and modifications intended to increase assay consistency were evaluated. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Assays were performed using a serum-free progenitor assay medium with cells plated at 5.0 x 104 and 1.0 x 105 cells per plate. A peripheral blood progenitor cell component collected from a normal donor after administration of granulocyte-colony-stimulating factor was divided into identical aliquots. Each experiment involved at least 5 technologists, each performing assays in duplicate on five aliquots, with each person scoring all assay plates. Three sample preparation methods were tested: 1) ficoll mononuclear cell enrichment and sample dilution, 2) sample dilution without ficoll separation, and 3) sample dilution without ficoll separation, with cell counts performed before and after each dilution step, dilution volumes calculated on the basis of each cell count, automated electronic pipettors used in dilution steps, and colony frequency calculated on the basis of cell counts from the final specimen RESULTS: Global variability for colony-forming units-granulocyte- macrophage, represented by the percentage of CV for all specimens and all technologists, was 89.6 percent at 5.0 x 104 cells per plate and 81.3 percent at 1.0 x 105, when ficoll separation was used. Subjective differences in scoring plates did not account for most of the variability observed, as results for any individual plate read by multiple technologists had a mean CV of 15.6 percent and 19.7 percent at the two plating concentrations. Method 3 resulted in the greatest improvement, reducing CV to 24.4 percent at 5.0 x 104 cells per plate and to 24.2 percent at 1.0 x 105 cells per plate. Similar results were obtained for erythroid-burst-forming units. CONCLUSIONS: Baseline assay results were extremely inconsistent. Interindividual differences in colony interpretation did not contribute significantly to assay variability, although sample preparation and plating did. Improved control over cell concentration decreased assay variability by 70 to 73 percent.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|State||Published - May 27 1999|