While cadaveric vertebral bodies (VB) have long been proposed as a suitable source of bone marrow (BM) for transplantation (BMT), they have rarely been used for this purpose. We have infused VB BM immediately following whole organ (WO) transplantation to augment donor cell chimerism. We quantified the hematopoietic progenitor cell (HPC) content of VB BM as well as BM obtained from the iliac crests (IC) of normal allogeneic donors (ALLO) and from patients with malignancy undergoing autologous marrow harvest (AUTO). Patients undergoing WO/BM transplantation also had AUTO BM harvested in the event that subsequent lymphohematopoietic reconstitution was required. Twenty-four VB BM, 24 IC BM-ALLO, 31 IC AUTO, and 24 IC WO-AUTO were harvested. VB BM was tested 12 to 72 hr after procurement and infused after completion of WO grafting. IC BM was tested and then used or cryopreserved immediately. HPC were quantified by clonal assay measuring CFU-GM, BFU-E, and CFU-GEMM, and by flow cytometry for CD34+ progenitor cells. On an average, 9 VB were processed during each harvest, and despite an extended processing time the number of viable nucleated cells obtained was significantly higher than that from IC. Furthermore, by HPC content, VB BM was equivalent to IC BM, which is routinely used for BMT. We conclude that VB BM is a clinically valuable source of BM for allogeneic transplantation.
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