Characterization of cytokine interactions by flow cytometry and factorial analysis

Jamie Case, Alison Rice, Julie Wood, Leonie Gaudry, Marcus Vowels, Robert E. Nordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Multiple cytokines are required for the growth and development of hematopoietic cells. The effect of many cytokines depends on the activity of other signaling pathways. These interactions are quantified using factorial experimental design and analysis. Methods: Human umbilical cord blood (HUCB) CD34+ cells were cultured in fully defined media containing various combinations of recombinant cytokines as defined by resolution IV factorial (2IV7-3) or full factorial (24) design experiments. The cytokines studied were stem cell factor (SCF), interleukin (IL)-3, megakaryocyte growth and development factor (MGDF), granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF), Flt-3 ligand, IL-6, IL-11, and erythropoietin (EPa). In vitro cell divisions were tracked by staining CD34+ cells with 5-(and-6)-carboxyfluorescein diacetate, succinimidyl ester, followed by flow cytometric analysis at 4 days of culture. In separate experiments, lineage commitment and differentiation were determined at 7 days by immunophenotype. Results: In addition to the main effects of single cytokines, cytokine interactions were identified. There was a negative interaction between IL-3 and MGDF that resulted in a less than additive effect of these factors on erythroid and megakaryocytic development. The effect of Flt-3 ligand and SCF factor on CD34+ cell production was also less than additive, although the response to both cytokines was greater than single cytokines. The only positive interaction that was identified was between EPO and SCF, which resulted in the synergistic production of erythroid cells. Conclusions: Factorial analysis provides a powerful methodology to study the integration of multiple signals at the cellular and molecular level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-81
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001


  • Cytokines
  • Factorial experimental design
  • Fetal blood
  • Flow cytometry
  • Hematopoietic growth factors
  • Hematopoietic stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Biophysics
  • Hematology
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology

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