Visualizing Intrapopulation Hematopoietic Cell Heterogeneity with Self-Organizing Maps of SIMS Data

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Characterization of the heterogeneity within stem cell populations, which affects their differentiation potential, is necessary for the design of artificial cultures for stem cell expansion. In this study, we assessed whether self-organizing maps (SOMs) of single-cell time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS) data provide insight into the spectral, and thus the related functional heterogeneity between and within three hematopoietic cell populations. SOMs were created of TOF-SIMS data from individual hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs), lineage-committed common lymphoid progenitors (CLPs), and fully differentiated B cells that had been isolated from murine bone marrow via conventional flow cytometry. The positions of these cells on the SOMs and the spectral variation between adjacent map units, shown on the corresponding unified distance matrix (U-matrix), indicated the CLPs exhibited the highest intrapopulation spectral variation, regardless of the age of the donor mice. SOMs of HSPCs, CLPs, and B cells isolated from young and old mice using the same surface antigen profiles revealed the HSPCs exhibited the most age-related spectral variation, whereas B cells exhibited the least. These results demonstrate that SOMs of single-cell spectra enable characterizing the heterogeneity between and within cell populations that lie along distinct differentiation pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)322-330
Number of pages9
JournalTissue Engineering - Part C: Methods
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • differentiation
  • imaging mass spectrometry
  • intrapopulation heterogeneity
  • screening platforms
  • self-organizing maps
  • single-cell analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering


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