Progenitor cells of neutrophils, monocyte-macrophages, and eosinophils in human marrow were enumerated in agar cultures stimulated by placental conditioned medium or white cell underlayers. Fractionation of marrow populations by velocity sedimentation showed that the profiles of neutrophil and macrophage colony-forming cells shifted from a peak of 8–9 mm/hr in 7-day cultures to a peak of 6–7 mm/hr in 14-day cultures. This shift was due to degeneration of some early colonies formed by rapidly sedimenting cells and the delayed formation of colonies by slowly sedimenting cells. Eosinophil colony formation was delayed until the second week of incubation. Further evidence of heterogeneity was the observation that rapidly sedimenting colony forming cells were more responsive to stimulation than more slowly sedimenting cells. In the macrophage and eosinophil populations, cluster-forming cells were partially segregatable form colony-forming cells. The observed heterogeneity was similar to the described previously in the mouse and suggests that separate subpopulations of progenitor cells may exist within each hemopoietic family that could possibly give rise to functionally different progeny.

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