MethoCult™ H4034 Optimum

Methylcellulose-based medium with recombinant cytokines for human cells

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Methylcellulose-based medium with recombinant cytokines for human cells
From: 521 CAD


MethoCult™ H4034 Optimum (MethoCult™ GF H4034) is a methylcellulose-based medium 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. MethoCult™ H4034 Optimum has been formulated to support optimal growth of erythroid progenitor cells (BFU-E and CFU-E), granulocyte-macrophage progenitor cells (CFU-GM, CFU-G and CFU-M), and multipotential granulocyte, erythroid, macrophage, megakaryocyte progenitor cells (CFU-GEMM). The inclusion of G-CSF in Optimum formulations improves discrimination of myeloid colony subtypes. This formulation is compatible with STEMvision™ software for automated colony counting.
• Methylcellulose in Iscove's MDM
• Fetal bovine serum
• Bovine serum albumin
• 2-Mercaptoethanol
• Recombinant human stem cell factor (SCF)
• Recombinant human interleukin 3 (IL-3)
• Recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO)
• Recombinant human granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF)
• Recombinant human granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF)
• Supplements
Semi-Solid Media; Specialized Media
Cell Type:
Hematopoietic Stem and Progenitor Cells
Human; Non-Human Primate
Cell Culture; Colony Assay; Functional Assay
Area of Interest:
Drug Discovery and Toxicity Testing; Stem Cell Biology

Technical 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


Procedure Summary for Hematopoietic CFC Assays

Figure 1. Procedure Summary for Hematopoietic CFU Assays

Examples of Colonies Derived from CFU-GM in MethoCult™ H4034 Optimum

Figure 2. Examples of Colonies Derived from CFU-GM in MethoCult™ H4034 Optimum

Examples of Colonies Derived from BFU-E in MethoCult™ H4034 Optimum

Figure 3. Examples of Colonies Derived from BFU-E in MethoCult™ H4034 Optimum


Exp Mol Med 2016 MAY

Generation and characterization of integration-free induced pluripotent stem cells from patients with autoimmune disease

Son MY et al.


Autoimmune diseases (AIDs), a heterogeneous group of immune-mediated disorders, are a major and growing health problem. Although AIDs are currently treated primarily with anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive drugs, the use of stem cell transplantation in patients with AIDs is becoming increasingly common. However, stem cell transplantation therapy has limitations, including a shortage of available stem cells and immune rejection of cells from nonautologous sources. Induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology, which allows the generation of patient-specific pluripotent stem cells, could offer an alternative source for clinical applications of stem cell therapies in AID patients. We used nonintegrating oriP/EBNA-1-based episomal vectors to reprogram dermal fibroblasts from patients with AIDs such as ankylosing spondylitis (AS), Sjogren's syndrome (SS) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The pluripotency and multilineage differentiation capacity of each patient-specific iPSC line was validated. The safety of these iPSCs for use in stem cell transplantation is indicated by the fact that all AID-specific iPSCs are integrated transgene free. Finally, all AID-specific iPSCs derived in this study could be differentiated into cells of hematopoietic and mesenchymal lineages in vitro as shown by flow cytometric analysis and induction of terminal differentiation potential. Our results demonstrate the successful generation of integration-free iPSCs from patients with AS, SS and SLE. These findings support the possibility of using iPSC technology in autologous and allogeneic cell replacement therapy for various AIDs, including AS, SS and SLE.
Experimental hematology 2016 JAN

GSK3inhibition activates the CDX/HOX pathway and promotes hemogenic endothelial progenitor differentiation from human pluripotent stem cells.

Kitajima K et al.


WNT/-CATENIN signaling promotes the hematopoietic/endothelial differentiation of human embryonic stem cells and human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs). The transient addition of a GSK3inhibitor (GSKi) has been found to facilitate in vitro endothelial cell differentiation from hESCs/hiPSCs. Because hematopoietic and endothelial cells are derived from common progenitors (hemogenic endothelial progenitors [HEPs]), we examined the effect of transient GSKi treatment on hematopoietic cell differentiation from hiPSCs. We found that transient GSKi treatment at the start of hiPSC differentiation induction altered the gene expression profile of the cells. Multiple CDX/HOX genes, which are expressed in the posterior mesoderm of developing embryos, were significantly upregulated by GSKi treatment. Further, inclusion of the GSKi in a serum- and stroma-free culture with chemically defined medium efficiently induced HEPs, and the HEPs gave rise to various lineages of hematopoietic and endothelial cells. Therefore, transient WNT/-CATENIN signaling triggers activation of the CDX/HOX pathway, which in turn confers hemogenic posterior mesoderm identity to differentiating hiPSCs. These data enhance our understanding of human embryonic hematopoietic/endothelial cell development and provide a novel in vitro system for inducing the differentiation of hematopoietic cells from hiPSCs.
The Journal of clinical investigation 2015 AUG

Pathogenesis of ELANE-mutant severe neutropenia revealed by induced pluripotent stem cells.

Nayak RC et al.


Severe congenital neutropenia (SCN) is often associated with inherited heterozygous point mutations in ELANE, which encodes neutrophil elastase (NE). However, a lack of appropriate models to recapitulate SCN has substantially hampered the understanding of the genetic etiology and pathobiology of this disease. To this end, we generated both normal and SCN patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), and performed genome editing and differentiation protocols that recapitulate the major features of granulopoiesis. Pathogenesis of ELANE point mutations was the result of promyelocyte death and differentiation arrest, and was associated with NE mislocalization and activation of the unfolded protein response/ER stress (UPR/ER stress). Similarly, high-dose G-CSF (or downstream signaling through AKT/BCL2) rescues the dysgranulopoietic defect in SCN patient-derived iPSCs through C/EBP-dependent emergency granulopoiesis. In contrast, sivelestat, an NE-specific small-molecule inhibitor, corrected dysgranulopoiesis by restoring normal intracellular NE localization in primary granules; ameliorating UPR/ER stress; increasing expression of CEBPA, but not CEBPB; and promoting promyelocyte survival and differentiation. Together, these data suggest that SCN disease pathogenesis includes NE mislocalization, which in turn triggers dysfunctional survival signaling and UPR/ER stress. This paradigm has the potential to be clinically exploited to achieve therapeutic responses using lower doses of G-CSF combined with targeting to correct NE mislocalization.
Cancer research 2007 FEB

A single-chain Fv diabody against human leukocyte antigen-A molecules specifically induces myeloma cell death in the bone marrow environment.

Sekimoto E et al.


Cross-linked human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I molecules have been shown to mediate cell death in neoplastic lymphoid cells. However, clinical application of an anti-HLA class I antibody is limited by possible side effects due to widespread expression of HLA class I molecules in normal tissues. To reduce the unwanted Fc-mediated functions of the therapeutic antibody, we have developed a recombinant single-chain Fv diabody (2D7-DB) specific to the alpha2 domain of HLA-A. Here, we show that 2D7-DB specifically induces multiple myeloma cell death in the bone marrow environment. Both multiple myeloma cell lines and primary multiple myeloma cells expressed HLA-A at higher levels than normal myeloid cells, lymphocytes, or hematopoietic stem cells. 2D7-DB rapidly induced Rho activation and robust actin aggregation that led to caspase-independent death in multiple myeloma cells. This cell death was completely blocked by Rho GTPase inhibitors, suggesting that Rho-induced actin aggregation is crucial for mediating multiple myeloma cell death. Conversely, 2D7-DB neither triggered Rho-mediated actin aggregation nor induced cell death in normal bone marrow cells despite the expression of HLA-A. Treatment with IFNs, melphalan, or bortezomib enhanced multiple myeloma cell death induced by 2D7-DB. Furthermore, administration of 2D7-DB resulted in significant tumor regression in a xenograft model of human multiple myeloma. These results indicate that 2D7-DB acts on multiple myeloma cells differently from other bone marrow cells and thus provide the basis for a novel HLA class I-targeting therapy against multiple myeloma.
Blood 2006 MAR

Reconstitution of the functional human hematopoietic microenvironment derived from human mesenchymal stem cells in the murine bone marrow compartment.

Muguruma Y et al.


Hematopoiesis is maintained by specific interactions between both hematopoietic and nonhematopoietic cells. Whereas hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) have been extensively studied both in vitro and in vivo, little is known about the in vivo characteristics of stem cells of the nonhematopoietic component, known as mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Here we have visualized and characterized human MSCs in vivo following intramedullary transplantation of enhanced green fluorescent protein-marked human MSCs (eGFP-MSCs) into the bone marrow (BM) of nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficiency (NOD/SCID) mice. Between 4 to 10 weeks after transplantation, eGFP-MSCs that engrafted in murine BM integrated into the hematopoietic microenvironment (HME) of the host mouse. They differentiated into pericytes, myofibroblasts, BM stromal cells, osteocytes in bone, bone-lining osteoblasts, and endothelial cells, which constituted the functional components of the BM HME. The presence of human MSCs in murine BM resulted in an increase in functionally and phenotypically primitive human hematopoietic cells. Human MSC-derived cells that reconstituted the HME appeared to contribute to the maintenance of human hematopoiesis by actively interacting with primitive human hematopoietic cells.
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