MethoCult™ M3630

Methylcellulose-based medium for mouse pre-B lymphoid progenitor cells

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MethoCult™ M3630

Methylcellulose-based medium for mouse pre-B lymphoid progenitor cells

100 mL
Catalog #03630
454 USD


MethoCult™ M3630 is optimized for the growth and enumeration of mouse pre-B lymphoid progenitor cells in colony-forming unit (CFU) assays of mouse bone marrow and Whitlock-Witte long-term cultures.

Browse our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on performing the CFU assay.
• Methylcellulose in Iscove's MDM
• Fetal bovine serum
• 2-Mercaptoethanol
• Recombinant human interleukin 7 (IL-7)
• Supplements
Semi-Solid Media; Specialized Media
Cell Type:
Hematopoietic Stem and Progenitor Cells
Cell Culture; Colony Assay; Functional Assay
Area of Interest:
Stem Cell Biology

Scientific Resources

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 2011 JUL

Crebbp haploinsufficiency in mice alters the bone marrow microenvironment, leading to loss of stem cells and excessive myelopoiesis.

Zimmer SN et al.


CREB-binding protein (CREBBP) is important for the cell-autonomous regulation of hematopoiesis, including the stem cell compartment. In the present study, we show that CREBBP plays an equally pivotal role in microenvironment-mediated regulation of hematopoiesis. We found that the BM microenvironment of Crebbp(+/-) mice was unable to properly maintain the immature stem cell and progenitor cell pools. Instead, it stimulates myeloid differentiation, which progresses into a myeloproliferation phenotype. Alterations in the BM microenvironment resulting from haploinsufficiency of Crebbp included a marked decrease in trabecular bone that was predominantly caused by increased osteoclastogenesis. Although CFU-fibroblast (CFU-F) and total osteoblast numbers were decreased, the bone formation rate was similar to that found in wild-type mice. At the molecular level, we found that the known hematopoietic modulators matrix metallopeptidase-9 (MMP9) and kit ligand (KITL) were decreased with heterozygous levels of Crebbp. Lastly, potentially important regulatory proteins, endothelial cell adhesion molecule 1 (ESAM1) and cadherin 5 (CDH5), were increased on Crebbp(+/-) endothelial cells. Our findings reveal that a full dose of Crebbp is essential in the BM microenvironment to maintain proper hematopoiesis and to prevent excessive myeloproliferation.
Blood 2011 JAN

Angiopoietin-like protein 3 supports the activity of hematopoietic stem cells in the bone marrow niche.

Zheng J et al.


The physiologic roles of angiopoietin-like proteins (Angptls) in the hematopoietic system remain unknown. Here we show that hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) in Angptl3-null mice are decreased in number and quiescence. HSCs transplanted into Angptl3-null recipient mice exhibited impaired repopulation. Bone marrow sinusoidal endothelial cells express high levels of Angptl3 and are adjacent to HSCs. Importantly, bone marrow stromal cells or endothelium deficient in Angptl3 have a significantly decreased ability to support the expansion of repopulating HSCs. Angptl3 represses the expression of the transcription factor Ikaros, whose unregulated overexpression diminishes the repopulation activity of HSCs. Angptl3, as an extrinsic factor, thus supports the stemness of HSCs in the bone marrow niche.
Molecular pharmacology 2011 APR

Acute disruption of bone marrow hematopoiesis by benzo(a)pyrene is selectively reversed by aryl hydrocarbon receptor-mediated processes.

N'jai AU et al.


Bone marrow (BM) hematopoietic cells are selectively sensitive to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in vivo. 7,12-Dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA), but not benzo(a)pyrene (BP), depletes BM hematopoietic cells in C57BL/6 mice. This difference is due to a BP-selective aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR)-mediated recovery. Colony-forming unit assays show suppression of lymphoid progenitors by each PAH within 6 h but a subsequent recovery, exclusively after BP treatment. Suppression of myeloid progenitors (6 h) occurs only for DMBA. Each progenitor responded equally to DMBA and BP in congenic mice expressing the PAH-resistant AhR (AhR(d)). AhR, therefore, mediates this BP recovery in each progenitor type. These PAH suppressions depend on Cyp1b1-mediated metabolism. Paradoxically, few genes responded to DMBA, whereas 12 times more responded to BP. Progenitor suppression by DMBA, therefore, occurs with minimal effects on the general BM population. Standard AhR-mediated stimulations (Cyp1a1, Cyp1b1, Ahrr) were similar for each PAH and for the specific agonist 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin but were absent in AhR(d) mice. A group of 12 such AhR responses was sustained from 6 to 24 h. A second, larger set of BP responses (chemokines, cytokines, cyclooxygenase 2) differed in two respects; DMBA responses were low and BP responses declined extensively from 6 to 24 h. A third cluster exhibited BP-induced increases in protective genes (Nqo1, GST-mu) that appeared only after 12 h. Conversion of BP to quinones contributes oxidative signaling not seen with DMBA. We propose that genes in this second cluster, which share oxidative signaling and AhR activation, provide the AhR-dependent protection of hematopoietic progenitors seen for BP.
Blood 2009 MAY

Enhanced expression of p210BCR/ABL and aberrant expression of Zfp423/ZNF423 induce blast crisis of chronic myelogenous leukemia.

Miyazaki K et al.


Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) is a hematopoietic disorder originating from p210BCR/ABL-transformed stem cells, which begins as indolent chronic phase (CP) but progresses into fatal blast crisis (BC). To investigate molecular mechanism(s) underlying disease evolution, CML-exhibiting p210BCR/ABL transgenic mice were crossed with BXH2 mice that transmit a replication-competent retrovirus. Whereas nontransgenic mice in the BXH2 background exclusively developed acute myeloid leukemia, p210BCR/ABL transgenic littermates developed nonmyeloid leukemias, in which inverse polymerase chain reaction detected 2 common viral integration sites (CISs). Interestingly, one CIS was transgene's own promoter, which up-regulated p210BCR/ABL expression. The other was the 5' noncoding region of a transcription factor, Zfp423, which induced aberrant Zfp423 expression. The cooperative activities of Zfp423 and p210BCR/ABL were demonstrated as follows: (1) introduction of Zfp423 in p210BCR/ABL transgenic bone marrow (BM) cells increased colony-forming ability, (2) suppression of ZNF423 (human homologue of Zfp423) in ZNF423-expressing, p210BCR/ABL-positive hematopoietic cells retarded cell growth, (3) mice that received a transplant of BM cells transduced with Zfp423 and p210BCR/ABL developed acute leukemia, and (4) expression of ZNF423 was found in human BCR/ABL-positive cell lines and CML BC samples. These results demonstrate that enhanced expression of p210BCR/ABL and deregulated expression of Zfp423/ZNF423 contribute to CML BC.
The Journal of clinical investigation 2008 SEP

Ablation of PI3K blocks BCR-ABL leukemogenesis in mice, and a dual PI3K/mTOR inhibitor prevents expansion of human BCR-ABL+ leukemia cells.

Kharas MG et al.


Some cases of pre-B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (pre-B-ALL) are caused by the Philadelphia (Ph) chromosome-encoded BCR-ABL oncogene, and these tend to have a poor prognosis. Inhibitors of the PI3K/AKT pathway reduce BCR-ABL-mediated transformation in vitro; however, the specific PI3K isoforms involved are poorly defined. Using a murine model of Ph+ pre-B-ALL, we found that deletion of both Pik3r1 and Pik3r2, genes encoding class IA PI3K regulatory isoforms, severely impaired transformation. BCR-ABL-dependent pre/pro-B cell lines could be established at low frequency from progenitors that lacked these genes, but the cells were smaller, proliferated more slowly, and failed to cause leukemia in vivo. These cell lines displayed nearly undetectable PI3K signaling function and were resistant to the PI3K inhibitor wortmannin. However, they maintained activation of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and were more sensitive to rapamycin. Treatment with rapamycin caused feedback activation of AKT in WT cell lines but not PI3K-deficient lines. A dual inhibitor of PI3K and mTOR, PI-103, was more effective than rapamycin at suppressing proliferation of mouse pre-B-ALL and human CD19+CD34+)Ph+ ALL leukemia cells treated with the ABL kinase inhibitor imatinib. Our findings provide mechanistic insights into PI3K dependency in oncogenic networks and provide a rationale for targeting class IA PI3K, alone or together with mTOR, in the treatment of Ph+ ALL.