Cloned stromal cell lines derived from human Whitlock/Witte-type long-term bone marrow cultures Academic Article uri icon


  • We report a human bone marrow culture technique that initially parallels the murine Whitlock/Witte culture system. As in the murine system, B cells predominate over other cell types, and all differentiation stages from pre-B to plasma cell are observed. Although these human long-term cultures pass through stages resembling phases I to III of murine Whitlock/Witte cultures, no outgrowth of nonadherent cells was seen after cultures had reached the "crisis" phase unless Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-transformants appeared. The stromal cells persisted well beyond crisis, but they could not be maintained and passaged as cell lines, limiting their use in molecular analysis. Transfection of these stromal cells with plasmid DNA containing the simian virus 40 (SV40) early region yielded 124 cloned cell lines. Analysis of these lines showed that all expressed SV40 large T antigen, but they retained most phenotypic markers found on non-transformed stromal cells. When adherent and T-cell-depleted bone marrow cells were cultured on either nontransformed stromal layers or transformed cell lines they proliferated actively and soon yielded predominantly lymphoid nonadherent populations. Moreover, prolonged survival of acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells of pre-B phenotype was regularly achieved on both normal and transformed adherent cell layers. Although the liquid culture system favored lymphocytes, transformed stroma supported colony formation by both human and murine hemopoietic progenitors when marrow was added in agar medium. This was not explained by colony-stimulating factor (CSF) production, because striking heterogeneity in the levels of granulocyte CSF (G-CSF) and granulocyte-macrophage CSF (GM-CSF) secretion by the lines was noted. Some lines that did not produce detectable CSF demonstrated good support of fresh bone marrow growth and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cell survival. The heterogeneity of these cell lines and their capacity to support hemopoiesis suggest that they will be useful in studying the molecular basis of in vitro lymphohemopoiesis in man.


  • Novotny, JR
  • Duehrsen, U
  • Welch, K
  • Layton, JE
  • Cebon, JS
  • Boyd, AW

publication date

  • September 10, 1990

has subject area