Characteristics of various tissue and cell culture methods for studying maturation of human erythroblasts were reviewed and the basic assumptions required in their use were examined.
The relationship of maturation and proliferation of erythroblasts in different types of cultures was considered.
Criteria for selection of an in vitro model for studying maturation were established. A new clot-free culture system in roller tubes was found to be superior to those previously described because of convenience, replicability and adaptability to studies of proliferation.
The results of challenging the new culture system with various types of cell-plasma relationships indicated that it was effective in distinguishing among erythroblasts and plasmas of iron deficiency anemia, thalassemia, azotemia and erythrocytosis, and that the deductions arrived at were similar to those derived from the use of less convenient in vitro systems in which different parameters of maturation were used.
Experience with the new method suggests that it may be useful in the study of humoral factors affecting maturation of human erythroblasts.
The chief limitation of the proposed method, as for other in vitro methods, is that only direct effects of humoral agents on erythroblasts can be studied.