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The HL-60 (Human promyelocytic leukemia cells) cell line has been used for laboratory research on how certain kinds of blood cells are formed. HL-60 proliferates continuously in suspension culture in nutrient and antibiotic chemicals. The doubling time is about 36–48 hours. The cell line was derived from a 36-year-old woman with acute promyelocytic leukemia at MD Anderson Cancer Center.[1] HL-60 cells are predominantly a neutrophilic promyelocyte (precursor).[1]

Proliferation of HL-60 cells occurs through the transferrin and insulin receptors, which are expressed on cell surface. The requirement for insulin and transferrin is absolute, as HL-60 proliferation immediately ceases if either of these compounds is removed from the serum-free culture media.[2] With this line, differentiation to mature granulocytes can be induced by compounds such as dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), or retinoic acid. Other compounds like 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) and GM-CSF can induce HL-60 to differentiate to monocytic, macrophage-like and eosinophil phenotypes, respectively.

The HL-60 cultured cell line provides a continuous source of human cells for studying the molecular events of myeloid differentiation and the effects of physiologic, pharmacologic, and virologic elements on this process. HL-60 cell model was used to study the effect of DNA topoisomerase (topo) IIα and IIβ on differentiation and apoptosis of cells[3] and is especially useful in dielectrophoresis studies,[4] which require an aqueous environment with suspended and round cells. Furthermore, these cells have been used in order to investigate whether intracellular calcium plays a role in caspase activation induced by reactive oxygen species.[5]

Chromatin and gene expression profiling in HL-60 cells and differentiated cells derived from these has been performed recently. [6]


  1. ^ a b Gallagher R, Collins S, Trujillo J, et al. (1979). "Characterization of the continuous, differentiating myeloid cell line (HL-60) from a patient with acute promyelocytic leukemia". Blood. 54 (3): 713–733. PMID 288488. 
  2. ^ Breitman, T, S. Collins, B. Keene, (1980). "Replacement of serum by insulin and transferrin supports growth and differentiation of the human promyelocytic leukemia cell line, HL-60.". Exp. Cell Res. 126 (2): 494–498. PMID 6988226. doi:10.1016/0014-4827(80)90296-7. 
  3. ^ Sugimoto, K, K. Yamada, M. Egashira, Y. yazaki, H. Hirai, A. Kikuchi and K. Oshimi, (1998). "Temporal and Spatial Distribution of DNA Topoisomerase II Alters During Proliferation, Differentiation, and Apoptosis in HL-60 Cells.". Blood. 91 (4): 1407–1417. PMID 9454772. 
  4. ^ Ratanachoo, K., Gascoyne, P.R.C. and Ruchirawat, M. (2002). "Detection of cellular responses to toxicants by dielectrophoresis.". Biochim. Biophys. Acta. 1564 (2): 449–458. PMC 2726261Freely accessible. PMID 12175928. doi:10.1016/S0005-2736(02)00494-7. 
  5. ^ D. González, I. Bejarano, C. Barriga, A.B. Rodríguez, J.A. Pariente (2010). "Oxidative Stress-Induced Caspases are Regulated in Human Myeloid HL-60 Cells by Calcium Signal". Current Signal Transduction Therapy 5: 181-186. doi:[10.2174/157436210791112172]
  6. ^ Teif V.B., Mallm J.P., Sharma T., Mark Welch D.B., Rippe K., Eils R., Langowski J., Olins A.L., Olins D.E. (2017). "Nucleosome repositioning during differentiation of a human myeloid leukemia cell line.". Nucleus. 8 (2): 188–204. PMID 28406749. doi:10.1080/19491034.2017.1295201. 

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