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OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to investigate whether purified CD34(+) cells from first-trimester fetal blood are a source of primitive and committed hemopoietic progenitors. STUDY DESIGN: CD34(+) cells from first-trimester fetal blood and term cord blood were assayed for committed hemopoietic progenitor cells, high proliferative potential colony-forming cells, and long-term culture-initiating cells. RESULTS: First-trimester CD34(+) cells that were compared with cells at term generated fewer hemopoietic progenitor cells and fewer high proliferative potential colony-forming cells with lower recloning efficiency(P <.001). First-trimester CD34(+) cells tended to contain more long-term culture-initiating cells, both in bulk cultures and by limiting dilution analysis. The ratio between committed and primitive progenitors was 3 in the first-trimester and 20 in the term cord blood, respectively. CONCLUSION: First-trimester fetal blood is enriched in primitive (compared with committed) hemopoietic progenitors and may be an advantageous source of stem cells for prenatal therapy.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Obstet Gynecol

Publication Date





1002 - 1010


Antigens, CD34, Blood Cells, Cells, Cultured, Colony-Forming Units Assay, Female, Fetal Blood, Hematopoietic Stem Cells, Humans, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Trimester, First, Time Factors