We have studied the deposition of extracellular matrix proteins in the adherent stroma of long-term murine bone marrow cultures. Stable hematopoiesis was maintained for greater than 12 wk. At selected intervals, culture dishes were sacrificed by removing all nonadherent cells and air drying the dishes. The adherent stromal layer was analyzed for the presence of intracellular and extracellular collagen, fibronectin, and laminin using double immunofluorescent staining with specific antisera against these matrix components. In cultures examined during the first 2 wk, large numbers of stromal cells contained collagen, fibronectin, and laminin. Over the next 2 wk, an extensive extracellular network of fibronectin, laminin, and collagen was deposited on the dishes, which persisted throughout the life of the cultures. In contrast to a previous report, we detected substantial numbers of endothelial cells by means of immunofluorescent staining of stromal cells with antisera to type IV collagen, laminin, and factor VIII antigen. Although deposition of these extracellular matrix proteins coincides with onset of active hematopoietic cell production, the relative roles of the stromal cells and the extracellular matrix in supporting hematopoiesis in murine bone marrow cell cultures remain to be determined.

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