MethoCult™ H4534 Classic Without EPO

Methylcellulose-based medium with recombinant cytokines (without erythropoietin [EPO]) for human cells

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Methylcellulose-based medium with recombinant cytokines (without erythropoietin [EPO]) for human cells
From: 418 USD


MethoCult™ H4534 Classic Without EPO (MethoCult™ GF H4534) is a complete 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™ H4534 Classic Without EPO is formulated to support the optimal growth of granulocyte-macrophage progenitor cells (CFU-GM, CFU-G and CFU-M).

Browse our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on performing the CFU assay and explore its utility as part of the cell therapy workflow.
• 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 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:
Stem Cell Biology

Scientific Resources

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


FACS Histogram Results Using EasySep™ Human Myeloid Cell Positive Selection Kit

Figure 1. Examples of Colonies Derived From CFU-GM


Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research 2019 jul

Combined CD28 and 4-1BB Costimulation Potentiates Affinity-tuned Chimeric Antigen Receptor-engineered T Cells.

E. Drent et al.


PURPOSE Targeting nonspecific, tumor-associated antigens (TAA) with chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) requires specific attention to restrict possible detrimental on-target/off-tumor effects. A reduced affinity may direct CAR-engineered T (CAR-T) cells to tumor cells expressing high TAA levels while sparing low expressing normal tissues. However, decreasing the affinity of the CAR-target binding may compromise the overall antitumor effects. Here, we demonstrate the prime importance of the type of intracellular signaling on the function of low-affinity CAR-T cells. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN We used a series of single-chain variable fragments (scFv) with five different affinities targeting the same epitope of the multiple myeloma-associated CD38 antigen. The scFvs were incorporated in three different CAR costimulation designs and we evaluated the antitumor functionality and off-tumor toxicity of the generated CAR-T cells in vitro and in vivo. RESULTS We show that the inferior cytotoxicity and cytokine secretion mediated by CD38 CARs of very low-affinity (Kd {\textless} 1.9 × 10-6 mol/L) bearing a 4-1BB intracellular domain can be significantly improved when a CD28 costimulatory domain is used. Additional 4-1BB signaling mediated by the coexpression of 4-1BBL provided the CD28-based CD38 CAR-T cells with superior proliferative capacity, preservation of a central memory phenotype, and significantly improved in vivo antitumor function, while preserving their ability to discriminate target antigen density. CONCLUSIONS A combinatorial costimulatory design allows the use of very low-affinity binding domains (Kd {\textless} 1 mumol/L) for the construction of safe but also optimally effective CAR-T cells. Thus, very-low-affinity scFvs empowered by selected costimulatory elements can enhance the clinical potential of TAA-targeting CARs.
Blood 2010 DEC

Chemical genomic screening reveals synergism between parthenolide and inhibitors of the PI-3 kinase and mTOR pathways.

Hassane DC et al.


We have previously shown that the plant-derived compound parthenolide (PTL) can impair the survival and leukemogenic activity of primary human acute myeloid leukemia (AML) stem cells. However, despite the activity of this agent, PTL also induces cellular protective responses that likely function to reduce its overall cytotoxicity. Thus, we sought to identify pharmacologic agents that enhance the antileukemic potential of PTL. Toward this goal, we used the gene expression signature of PTL to identify compounds that inhibit cytoprotective responses by performing chemical genomic screening of the Connectivity Map database. This screen identified compounds acting along the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase and mammalian target of rapamycin pathways. Compared with single agent treatment, exposure of AML cells to the combination of PTL and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitors significantly decreased viability of AML cells and reduced tumor burden in vitro and in murine xenotransplantation models. Taken together, our data show that rational drug combinations can be identified using chemical genomic screening strategies and that inhibition of cytoprotective functions can enhance the eradication of primary human AML cells.
Blood 2007 SEP

AZD1152, a novel and selective aurora B kinase inhibitor, induces growth arrest, apoptosis, and sensitization for tubulin depolymerizing agent or topoisomerase II inhibitor in human acute leukemia cells in vitro and in vivo.

Yang J et al.


Aurora kinases play an important role in chromosome alignment, segregation, and cytokinesis during mitosis. We have recently shown that hematopoietic malignant cells including those from acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) aberrantly expressed Aurora A and B kinases, and ZM447439, a potent inhibitor of Aurora kinases, effectively induced growth arrest and apoptosis of a variety of leukemia cells. The present study explored the effect of AZD1152, a highly selective inhibitor of Aurora B kinase, on various types of human leukemia cells. AZD1152 inhibited the proliferation of AML lines (HL-60, NB4, MOLM13), ALL line (PALL-2), biphenotypic leukemia (MV4-11), acute eosinophilic leukemia (EOL-1), and the blast crisis of chronic myeloid leukemia K562 cells with an IC50 ranging from 3 nM to 40 nM, as measured by thymidine uptake on day 2 of culture. These cells had 4N/8N DNA content followed by apoptosis, as measured by cell-cycle analysis and annexin V staining, respectively. Of note, AZD1152 synergistically enhanced the antiproliferative activity of vincristine, a tubulin depolymerizing agent, and daunorubicin, a topoisomerase II inhibitor, against the MOLM13 and PALL-2 cells in vitro. Furthermore, AZD1152 potentiated the action of vincristine and daunorubicin in a MOLM13 murine xenograft model. Taken together, AZD1152 is a promising new agent for treatment of individuals with leukemia. The combined administration of AZD1152 and conventional chemotherapeutic agent to patients with leukemia warrants further investigation.
European heart journal 2007 MAR

Cell isolation procedures matter: a comparison of different isolation protocols of bone marrow mononuclear cells used for cell therapy in patients with acute myocardial infarction.

Seeger FH et al.


AIM: The recently published REPAIR-AMI and ASTAMI trial showed differences in contractile recovery of left ventricular function after infusion of bone marrow-derived cells in acute myocardial infarction. Since the trials used different protocols for cell isolation and storage (REPAIR-AMI: Ficoll, storage in X-vivo 10 medium plus serum; ASTAMI: Lymphoprep, storage in NaCl plus plasma), we compared the functional activity of BMC isolated by the two different protocols. METHODS AND RESULTS: The recovery of total cell number, colony-forming units (CFU), and the number of mesenchymal stem cells were significantly reduced to 77 +/- 4%, 83 +/- 16%, and 65 +/- 15%, respectively, when using the ASTAMI protocol compared with the REPAIR protocol. The capacity of the isolated BMC to migrate in response to stromal cell-derived factor 1 (SDF-1) was profoundly reduced when using the ASTAMI cell isolation procedure (42 +/- 8% and 78 +/- 3% reduction in healthy and CAD-patient cells, respectively). Finally, infusion of BMC into a hindlimb ischaemia model demonstrated a significantly blunted blood-flow-recovery by BMC isolated with the ASTAMI protocol (54 +/- 6% of the effect obtained by REPAIR cells). Comparison of the individual steps identified the use of NaCl and plasma for cell storage as major factors for functional impairment of the BMC. CONCLUSION: Cell isolation protocols have a major impact on the functional activity of bone marrow-derived progenitor cells. The assessment of cell number and viability may not entirely reflect the functional capacity of cells in vivo. Additional functional testing appears to be mandatory to assure proper cell function before embarking on clinical cell therapy trials.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2006 APR

Cytoprotective doses of erythropoietin or carbamylated erythropoietin have markedly different procoagulant and vasoactive activities.

Coleman TR et al.


Recombinant human erythropoietin (rhEPO) is receiving increasing attention as a potential therapy for prevention of injury and restoration of function in nonhematopoietic tissues. However, the minimum effective dose required to mimic and augment these normal paracrine functions of erythropoietin (EPO) in some organs (e.g., the brain) is higher than for treatment of anemia. Notably, a dose-dependent risk of adverse effects has been associated with rhEPO administration, especially in high-risk groups, including polycythemia-hyperviscosity syndrome, hypertension, and vascular thrombosis. Of note, several clinical trials employing relatively high dosages of rhEPO in oncology patients were recently halted after an increase in mortality and morbidity, primarily because of thrombotic events. We recently identified a heteromeric EPO receptor complex that mediates tissue protection and is distinct from the homodimeric receptor responsible for the support of erythropoiesis. Moreover, we developed receptor-selective ligands that provide tools to assess which receptor isoform mediates which biological consequence of rhEPO therapy. Here, we demonstrate that rhEPO administration in the rat increases systemic blood pressure, reduces regional renal blood flow, and increases platelet counts and procoagulant activities. In contrast, carbamylated rhEPO, a heteromeric receptor-specific ligand that is fully tissue protective, increases renal blood flow, promotes sodium excretion, reduces injury-induced elevation in procoagulant activity, and does not effect platelet production. These preclinical findings suggest that nonerythropoietic tissue-protective ligands, which appear to elicit fewer adverse effects, may be especially useful in clinical settings for tissue protection.