Recent observations indicating that the HL-60 human acute promyelocytic leukemia cell line contains a minor eosinophil population in addition to neutrophil and mononuclear phagocyte progenitors suggest the multipotentiality of HL-60 stem cells. In order to clarify multilineage differentiation and commitment to single-lineage progenitors we analyzed HL-60 colonies formed in methylcellulose. In an HL-60 parent line with a relatively high eosinophil content (5.5%), 36% of the spontaneous colonies consisted partly or wholly of eosinophilic cells. After two rounds of subcloning in methylcellulose, two eosinophilic sublines and two neutrophilic sublines were established. These lines have been in continuous liquid culture for more than four months, and they show stable single-lineage differentiation. Purified biosynthetic GM-CSF, which stimulates normal CFU-GM and CFU-EO, induced monocytic differentiation but no eosinophilic differentiation in the neutrophilic sublines and no neutrophilic or monocytic differentiation in the eosinophilic sublines. These observations indicate that HL-60 stem cells are multipotent and capable of spontaneous commitment to single- lineage progenitors. The eosinophilic HL-60 sublines should facilitate studies on the production and function of human eosinophils and the single-lineage sublines will allow further analysis of leukemic cell differentiation and stem cell commitment.

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