Identifying States along the Hematopoietic Stem Cell Differentiation Hierarchy with Single Cell Specificity via Raman Spectroscopy

Yelena Ilin, Ji Sun Choi, Brendan A.C. Harley, Mary L. Kraft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A major challenge for expanding specific types of hematopoietic cells ex vivo for the treatment of blood cell pathologies is identifying the combinations of cellular and matrix cues that direct hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) to self-renew or differentiate into cell populations ex vivo. Microscale screening platforms enable minimizing the number of rare HSCs required to screen the effects of numerous cues on HSC fate decisions. These platforms create a strong demand for label-free methods that accurately identify the fate decisions of individual hematopoietic cells at specific locations on the platform. We demonstrate the capacity to identify discrete cells along the HSC differentiation hierarchy via multivariate analysis of Raman spectra. Notably, cell state identification is accurate for individual cells and independent of the biophysical properties of the functionalized polyacrylamide gels upon which these cells are cultured. We report partial least-squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) models of single cell Raman spectra enable identifying four dissimilar hematopoietic cell populations across the HSC lineage specification. Successful discrimination was obtained for a population enriched for long-term repopulating HSCs (LT-HSCs) versus their more differentiated progeny, including closely related short-term repopulating HSCs (ST-HSCs) and fully differentiated lymphoid (B cells) and myeloid (granulocytes) cells. The lineage-specific differentiation states of cells from these four subpopulations were accurately identified independent of the stiffness of the underlying biomaterial substrate, indicating subtle spectral variations that discriminated these populations were not masked by features from the culture substrate. This approach enables identifying the lineage-specific differentiation stages of hematopoietic cells on biomaterial substrates of differing composition and may facilitate correlating hematopoietic cell fate decisions with the extrinsic cues that elicited them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11317-11324
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number22
StatePublished - Oct 23 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry


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