The ability of families of compounds with known and potential cryoprotective properties to induce the differentiation of Friend leukemia cells in vitro was studied. For each agent, both the proportion of differentiated cells in the culture and the total amount of heme/10(7) cells were determined. Within each family of compounds there was a direct correlation between a compound's cryoprotective ability, its ability to donate electron pairs for hydrogen bonding (basicity), and its ability to induce differentiation. While individual agents differed with respect to the proportion of cells which were induced to differentiate, the biology of the process of differentiation appeared to be similar, regardless of the agent used. A cell line which was unresponsive to DMSO was responsive to other inducers, suggesting that this DMSO-resistant cell line differed from its parent DMSO- responsive cell line either in its metabolism of the inducers or in the ability of the inducers to enter the cell. Alternatively, there may be more than one mechanism involved in the chemical induction of differentiation.

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