MethoCult™ H4100

Base methylcellulose medium for human cells

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MethoCult™ H4100

Base methylcellulose medium for human cells

40 mL
Catalog #04100
87 USD


MethoCult™ H4100 is an incomplete medium that contains 2.6% methylcellulose in Iscove's MDM. MethoCult™ H4100 is suitable for the growth and enumeration of hematopoietic progenitor cells in colony-forming unit (CFU) assays of human bone marrow, mobilized peripheral blood, peripheral blood, and cord blood samples, when the appropriate growth factors and supplements are added. This formulation does not contain serum or cytokines and can also be used as a base for cloning cell lines in semi-solid media.

Browse our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on performing the CFU assay and explore its utility as part of the cell therapy workflow.
• 2.6% Methylcellulose
• Iscove's MDM
Semi-Solid Media; Specialized Media
Cell Type:
Hematopoietic Stem and Progenitor Cells
Cell Culture; Colony Assay; Functional Assay
Area of Interest:
Stem Cell Biology

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Product Documentation

Educational Materials


Frequently Asked Questions

Why use semi-solid media?

Semi-solid media (methylcellulose-based MethoCult™ and collagen-based MegaCult™-C) allow the clonal progeny of a single progenitor cell to remain spatially isolated from other colonies within a culture, so they may be separately identified and counted.

Why use methylcellulose-based media?

Methylcellulose permits better growth of erythroid colonies than other types of semi-solid support systems (eg. agar) while allowing optimal myeloid colony formation. When appropriate cytokines are present, committed progenitor cells of both erythroid and granulocyte/macrophage lineages (CFU-GM, CFU-G, CFU-M) as well as multi-potential progenitor cells (CFU-GEMM), can be assayed simultaneously in the same culture dish.

Is it necessary to add antibiotics to the media?

No, aseptic technique should be sufficient to maintain sterile cultures. However, antibiotics (eg. Penicillin/Streptomycin) or anti-fungals (eg. Amphotericin B) may be added to the methylcellulose medium if desired.

Is there anything I can do if my cultures appear contaminated?

No, once contamination is visible, it is not possible to rescue the cultures by the addition of antibiotics. Bacteria and yeast inhibit colony formation by depleting nutrients or by releasing toxic substances.

Why can't I use a pipette to dispense methylcellulose-based media?

Methylcellulose is a viscous solution that cannot be accurately dispensed using a pipette due to adherence of the medium to the walls of the pipette tip. Blunt-End, 16 Gauge needles (Catalog #28110), in combination with 3 cc Syringes (Catalog #28230) are recommended for accurate dispensing of MethoCult™.

Can I 'pluck' the colonies for individual analysis?

Yes, colonies can be 'plucked' using a pipette with 200 µL sterile pipette tips or using a glass Pasteur pipette with an elongated tip. Individual colonies should be placed in a volume of 25 - 50 µL of medium, and diluted into suitable culture medium for further culture or analysis.

Why are low adherence dishes so important?

Adherent cells such as fibroblasts can cause inhibition of colony growth and obscure visualization of colonies.

Can MethoCult™ products be used for lymphoid progenitor CFU assays?

Human lymphoid progenitors (B, NK and T) seem to require stromal support for growth therefore cannot be grown in MethoCult™. Mouse pre-B clonogenic progenitors can be grown in MethoCult™ M3630 (Catalog #03630).

Is it possible to set up CFU assays in a 24-well plate?

Yes, as long as a plating concentration optimized for the smaller surface area of a well in a 24-well plate (1.9 cm2 as compared to ~9.5 cm2 for a 35 mm dish) is used for these assays. The number of replicate wells required to get an accurate estimation of CFU numbers may also need to be increased.

Can I stain colonies in MethoCult™ medium?

The cells in individual colonies in MethoCult™ can be stained, eg., for analysis of morphology or phenotype, after they are plucked from the dish and washed free of methylcellulose. Colonies grown in collagen-based MegaCult™-C medium can be used for immunohistochemical or enzymatic staining in situ after dehydration and fixation onto glass slides.

Are there differences in colony morphology with serum-free media?

Serum-containing media generally give better overall growth (colonies may appear larger) but there are no large differences in total colony numbers when CFU assays using serum-free media and serum-containing media are compared, provided that identical cytokines are present.

Can MethoCult™ be made with alternate base media?

Yes, this can be done as a 'custom' media order. Please contact for more information.

Is there a MethoCult™ formulation suitable for HPP-CFC (high proliferative potential colony forming cell)?

Yes, MethoCult™ H4535 (Catalog #04535) can be used for the HPP-CFC assay as it does not contain EPO. The culture period is usually 28 days. It is not necessary to feed these cultures as growth factors in the medium are present in excess. As HPP-CFCs can be quite large, overplating can be a problem. It is recommended to plate cells at two or more different concentrations.
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Product Applications

This product is designed for use in the following research area(s) as part of the highlighted workflow stage(s). Explore these workflows to learn more about the other products we offer to support each research area.

Data and Publications


Blood 2010 JAN

High-mobility group protein HMGB2 regulates human erythroid differentiation through trans-activation of GFI1B transcription.

Laurent B et al.


Gfi-1B is a transcriptional repressor that is crucial for erythroid differentiation: inactivation of the GFI1B gene in mice leads to embryonic death due to failure to produce differentiated red cells. Accordingly, GFI1B expression is tightly regulated during erythropoiesis, but the mechanisms involved in such regulation remain partially understood. We here identify HMGB2, a high-mobility group HMG protein, as a key regulator of GFI1B transcription. HMGB2 binds to the GFI1B promoter in vivo and up-regulates its trans-activation most likely by enhancing the binding of Oct-1 and, to a lesser extent, of GATA-1 and NF-Y to the GFI1B promoter. HMGB2 expression increases during erythroid differentiation concomitantly to the increase of GfI1B transcription. Importantly, knockdown of HMGB2 in immature hematopoietic progenitor cells leads to decreased Gfi-1B expression and impairs their erythroid differentiation. We propose that HMGB2 potentiates GATA-1-dependent transcription of GFI1B by Oct-1 and thereby controls erythroid differentiation.
Cancer research 2010 DEC

Persistent activation of the Fyn/ERK kinase signaling axis mediates imatinib resistance in chronic myelogenous leukemia cells through upregulation of intracellular SPARC.

Fenouille N et al.


SPARC is an extracellular matrix protein that exerts pleiotropic effects on extracellular matrix organization, growth factor availability, cell adhesion, differentiation, and immunity in cancer. Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) cells resistant to the BCR-ABL inhibitor imatinib (IM-R cells) were found to overexpress SPARC mRNA. In this study, we show that imatinib triggers SPARC accumulation in a variety of tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI)-resistant CML cell lines. SPARC silencing in IM-R cells restored imatinib sensitivity, whereas enforced SPARC expression in imatinib-sensitive cells promoted viability as well as protection against imatinib-mediated apoptosis. Notably, we found that the protective effect of SPARC required intracellular retention inside cells. Accordingly, SPARC was not secreted into the culture medium of IM-R cells. Increased SPARC expression was intimately linked to persistent activation of the Fyn/ERK kinase signaling axis. Pharmacologic inhibition of this pathway or siRNA-mediated knockdown of Fyn kinase resensitized IM-R cells to imatinib. In support of our findings, increased levels of SPARC mRNA were documented in blood cells from CML patients after 1 year of imatinib therapy compared with initial diagnosis. Taken together, our results highlight an important role for the Fyn/ERK signaling pathway in imatinib-resistant cells that is driven by accumulation of intracellular SPARC.
Blood 2009 FEB

Small molecule XIAP inhibitors cooperate with TRAIL to induce apoptosis in childhood acute leukemia cells and overcome Bcl-2-mediated resistance.

Fakler M et al.


Defects in apoptosis contribute to poor outcome in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), calling for novel strategies that counter apoptosis resistance. Here, we demonstrate for the first time that small molecule inhibitors of the antiapoptotic protein XIAP cooperate with TRAIL to induce apoptosis in childhood acute leukemia cells. XIAP inhibitors at subtoxic concentrations, but not a structurally related control compound, synergize with TRAIL to trigger apoptosis and to inhibit clonogenic survival of acute leukemia cells, whereas they do not affect viability of normal peripheral blood lymphocytes, suggesting some tumor selectivity. Analysis of signaling pathways reveals that XIAP inhibitors enhance TRAIL-induced activation of caspases, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, and cytochrome c release in a caspase-dependent manner, indicating that they promote a caspase-dependent feedback mitochondrial amplification loop. Of note, XIAP inhibitors even overcome Bcl-2-mediated resistance to TRAIL by enhancing Bcl-2 cleavage and Bak conformational change. Importantly, XIAP inhibitors kill leukemic blasts from children with ALL ex vivo and cooperate with TRAIL to induce apoptosis. In vivo, they significantly reduce leukemic burden in a mouse model of pediatric ALL engrafted in non-obese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient (NOD/SCID) mice. Thus, XIAP inhibitors present a promising novel approach for apoptosis-based therapy of childhood ALL.
Molecular and cellular biology 2008 DEC

Anchorage-independent growth of pocket protein-deficient murine fibroblasts requires bypass of G2 arrest and can be accomplished by expression of TBX2.

Vormer TL et al.


Mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) deficient for pocket proteins (i.e., pRB/p107-, pRB/p130-, or pRB/p107/p130-deficient MEFs) have lost proper G(1) control and are refractory to Ras(V12)-induced senescence. However, pocket protein-deficient MEFs expressing Ras(V12) were unable to exhibit anchorage-independent growth or to form tumors in nude mice. We show that depending on the level of pocket proteins, loss of adhesion induces G(1) and G(2) arrest, which could be alleviated by overexpression of the TBX2 oncogene. TBX2-induced transformation occurred only in the absence of pocket proteins and could be attributed to downregulation of the p53/p21(CIP1) pathway. Our results show that a balance between the pocket protein and p53 pathways determines the level of transformation of MEFs by regulating cyclin-dependent kinase activities. Since transformation of human fibroblasts also requires ablation of both pathways, our results imply that the mechanisms underlying transformation of human and mouse cells are not as different as previously claimed.
The Journal of experimental medicine 2007 SEP

Unregulated actin polymerization by WASp causes defects of mitosis and cytokinesis in X-linked neutropenia.

Moulding DA et al.


Specific mutations in the human gene encoding the Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASp) that compromise normal auto-inhibition of WASp result in unregulated activation of the actin-related protein 2/3 complex and increased actin polymerizing activity. These activating mutations are associated with an X-linked form of neutropenia with an intrinsic failure of myelopoiesis and an increase in the incidence of cytogenetic abnormalities. To study the underlying mechanisms, active mutant WASp(I294T) was expressed by gene transfer. This caused enhanced and delocalized actin polymerization throughout the cell, decreased proliferation, and increased apoptosis. Cells became binucleated, suggesting a failure of cytokinesis, and micronuclei were formed, indicative of genomic instability. Live cell imaging demonstrated a delay in mitosis from prometaphase to anaphase and confirmed that multinucleation was a result of aborted cytokinesis. During mitosis, filamentous actin was abnormally localized around the spindle and chromosomes throughout their alignment and separation, and it accumulated within the cleavage furrow around the spindle midzone. These findings reveal a novel mechanism for inhibition of myelopoiesis through defective mitosis and cytokinesis due to hyperactivation and mislocalization of actin polymerization.