Three approaches were used to demonstrate the presence of Thy-1 antigen on the surface of pluripotent hemopoietic stem cells in the rat. In the first, stem cells from fetal liver, neonatal spleen, and adult bone marrow were prevented from forming hemopoietic colonies in the spleens of irradiated recipients spleen (colony-forming unit assay) by incubation with antibodies to Thy-1 antigen. Highly specific rabbit heteroantiserum to purified rat brain Thy-1 antigen and mouse alloantisera to Thy-1.1-positive thymocytes were equally effective. This inhibition was neutralized by purified Thy-1 antigen. In a second series of experiments, Thy-1-positive and Thy-1-negative populations of nucleated bone marrow cells were separated by the FACS. All of the hemopoietic stem cell activity was recovered in the Thy-1-positive population. The stem cells were among the most strongly positive for Thy-1 antigen, being in the upper 25th percentile for relative fluorescence intensity. The relationships of Thy-1 antigen to the rat bone marrow lymphocyte antigen (BMLA) was shown in a third series of experiments. Rabbit anti-BMLA serum, which is raised against a null population of lymphocyte-like bone marrow cells, has been shown to have anti-stem cell activity. Here we demonstrate by double immunofluorescence, cocapping, and differential absorption studies that Thy-1 and BMLA are parts of the same molecule.

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