Methods have been devised to harvest megakaryocytes from guinea pig femoral marrow and to isolate them in high yield. When marrow tissue was disaggregated the megakaryocytes underwent degenerative changes characterized by the loss of cytoplasmic granules and alterations in membrane topography, similar to the changes seen in aggregating platelets. These morphologic changes were interpreted to mean that megakaryocytes possessed functional attributes of platelets. The use of agents which inhibit platelt aggregation (0.38% sodium citrate. 10(-3) M adenosine, and 2 x 10(-3) M theophylline) in a medium free of bivalent cations prevented these changes. This solution resulted in both an excellent morphologic preservation and a significantly increased recovery of megakaryocytes from marrow tissue. A two-step purification of the intact megakaryocytes was carried out on the basis of their low density and large size, with equilibrium density gradient centrifugation followed by velocity sedimentation. This sequence gave approximately a 100-fold enrichment of megakaryocytes, significantly better than that achieved with either method alone. These techniques for harvesting and concentrating megakaryocytes make it possible for the first time to study megakaryocytes in vitro.

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