Transplantation-related mortality (TRM) is high after HLA-mismatched umbilical cord blood (UCB) transplantation (UCBT). In utero, exposure to noninherited maternal antigen (NIMA) is recognized by the fetus, which induces Tregulator cells to that haplotype. It is plausible that UCBTs in which recipients are matched to donor NIMAs may alleviate some of the excess mortality associated with this treatment. To explore this concept, we used marginal matched-pair Cox regression analysis to compare outcomes in 48 NIMA-matched UCBTs (ie, the NIMA of the donor UCB unit matched to the patient) and in 116 non–NIMA-matched UCBTs. All patients had a hematologic malignancy and received a single UCB unit. Cases and controls were matched on age, disease, disease status, transplantation-conditioning regimen, HLA match, and infused cell dose. TRM was lower after NIMA-matched UCBTs compared with NIMA-mismatched UCBTs (relative risk, 0.48; P=.05; 18% versus 32% at 5 years posttransplantation). Consequently, overall survival was higher after NIMA-matched UCBT. The 5-year probability of overall survival was 55% after NIMA-matched UCBTs versus 38% after NIMA-mismatched UCBTs (P=.04). When faced with the choice of multiple HLA-mismatched UCB units containing adequate cell doses, selecting an NIMA-matched UCB unit may improve survival after mismatched UCBT.
Permissive match; Regulatory T cells; Fetal immune response
Background: Several studies revealed that MSC from human bone marrow can downregulate graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) after allogeneic HSCT. Methods: Herein we present 50 patients with acute GVHD who got 74 (1-4) MSC infusions for 54 separate episodes of aGVHD. Results: aGVHD was defined as steroid resistant grade IV aGVHD in 42 cases. The major presentation was gastrointestinal GVHD; two (n=18) or more (n=21) systems were involved in the majority of cases. The 1st infusion with MSC was given on day +27 (range, 1 to 136); d+45 (range, +11 to +150) post diagnosis of aGVHD and HSCT, respectively. In 2/3 of the cases treatment was performed with frozen stocked MSCs; in 62 cases early passages (1-3) were used. The median number of infused cells was 1.14±0.47 million per kg in the first injection and up to 4.27 (1.70±1.10) millions in total. The two patients with aggressive liver GVHD received MSCs injections intra hepatic arteries without changes of blood flow or evidence cytolysis, but also without a visible effect. Disease free survival at 3.6 years was 56%. We observed better overall survival in patients with GVHD grade < 4, in responders to the 1st treatment with MSC, and in pediatric group. The multivariate analysis demonstrated independent influence on survival of initial response and younger age. There were no immediate or late toxicity or side effects. Conclusion: Injection of MSCs seems to be a promising and safe treatment of GVHD. The encouraging results obviously should be confirmed in a randomized prospective study.
Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC); mesenchymal stem cells; hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; graft versus host disease; steroid resistance
Growing evidence suggests that cellular adoptive immunotherapy is becoming an attractive though challenging approach in regulating tumor immunity and alloresponses in clinical transplantation. Naturally arising CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (Treg) have emerged as a key component in this regard. Over the last decade, a large body of evidence from preclinical models has demonstrated their crucial role in auto- and tumor immunity and has opened the door to their “first-in-man” clinical application. Initial studies in clinical allogeneic stem cell transplantation are very encouraging and may pave the way for other applications. Further improvements in Treg ex vivo or in vivo expansion technologies will simplify their global clinical application. In this review, we discuss the current knowledge of Treg biology and their potential for cell-based immunotherapy in allogeneic stem cell transplantation.
Older patients with AML have a worse outcome compared to young patients. To study for potential contributors to their poor prognosis, we compared two NK-AML cohorts, young (< 60 years old) and old (> 60 years old), via high density SNP array analysis. Older patients had more genomic changes (1.83±0.23 vs. 1.16±0.2, p=0.037) and a trend for a higher number of copy number neutral loss of heterozygosity (0.5±0.2 vs. 0.24±0.08, p=0.088) compared to young patients. We speculate that complex genomic changes in NK-AML may be a sign of an increase in genomic instability and an indicator of a worse prognosis.
AML; Normal karyotype; SNP array; Old age
Natural killer (NK) cells have long been considered as potential agents for adoptive cell therapy for solid cancer patients. Until today most studies utilized autologous NK cells and yielded disappointing results. Here we analyze various modular strategies to employ allogeneic NK cells for adoptive cell transfer, including donor-recipient HLA-C mismatching, selective activation and induction of melanoma-recognizing lysis receptors, and co-administration of antibodies to elicit antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity (ADCC). We show that NK cell activation and induction of the relevant lysis receptors, as well as co-administration of antibodies yield substantial anti-cancer effects, which are functionally superior to HLA-C mismatching. Combination of the various strategies yielded improved effects. In addition, we developed various clinically-compatible ex vivo expansion protocols that were optimized according to fold expansion, purity and expression of lysis receptors. The main advantages of employing allogeneic NK cells are accessibility, the ability to use a single donor for many patients, combination with various strategies associated with the mechanism of action, e.g. antibodies and specific activation, as well as donor selection according to HLA or CD16 genotypes. This study rationalizes a clinical trial that combines adoptive transfer of highly potent allogeneic NK cells and antibody therapy.
Mantle cell lymphoma is characterized by a genetic translocation results in aberrant overexpression of the CCND1 gene, which encodes cyclin D1. This protein functions as a regulator of the cell cycle progression, hence is considered to play an important role in the pathogenesis of the disease. In this study, we used RNA interference strategies to examine whether cyclin D1 might serve as a therapeutic target for mantle cell lymphoma. Knocking down cyclin D1 resulted in significant growth retardation, cell cycle arrest, and most importantly, induction of apoptosis. These results mark cyclin D1 as a target for mantle cell lymphoma and emphasize the therapeutic potential hidden in its silencing.
Stroma cells and extracellular matrix (ECM) components provide the pivotal microenvironment for tumor development. The study aimed to evaluate the importance of the pancreatic stroma for tumor development.
Pancreatic tumor cells were implanted subcutaneously into green fluorescent protein transgenic mice, and stroma cells invading the tumors were identified through immunohistochemistry. Inhibition of tumor invasion by stroma cells was achieved with halofuginone, an inhibitor of TGFβ/Smad3 signaling, alone or in combination with chemotherapy. The origin of tumor ECM was evaluated with species-specific collagen I antibodies and in situ hybridization of collagen α1(I) gene. Pancreatic fibrosis was induced by cerulean injection and tumors by spleen injection of pancreatic tumor cells.
Inhibition of stroma cell infiltration and reduction of tumor ECM levels by halofuginone inhibited development of tumors derived from mouse and human pancreatic cancer cells. Halofuginone reduced the number only of stroma myofibroblasts expressing both contractile and collagen biosynthesis markers. Both stroma myofibroblasts and tumor cells generated ECM that contributes to tumor growth. Combination of treatments that inhibit stroma cell infiltration, cause apoptosis of myofibroblasts and inhibit Smad3 phosphorylation, with chemotherapy that increases tumor-cell apoptosis without affecting Smad3 phosphorylation was more efficacious than either treatment alone. More tumors developed in fibrotic than in normal pancreas, and prevention of tissue fibrosis greatly reduced tumor development.
The utmost importance of tissue fibrosis and of stroma cells for tumor development presents potential new therapy targets, suggesting combination therapy against stroma and neoplastic cells as a treatment of choice.
A retrospective analysis was conducted to examine factors affecting early mortality following myeloablative, single-unit cord blood transplantation (CBT) for hematological malignancies in adolescents and adults. Data were collected from the three main CBT registries pooling 514 records of unrelated, single, unmanipulated, first myeloablative allogeneic CBTs conducted in North America or Europe from 1995 to 2005, with an HLA match ≥4/6 loci, in patients aged 12 to 55. Overall 100-, 180- day and 1-year survival (Kaplan-Meier method) were 56%, 46% and 37%, respectively, with no significant heterogeneity across registries. Multivariate analysis showed cell dose < 2.5×107/Kg (Odds Ratio [OR] 2.76, p<0.0001), older age (p=0.002), advanced disease (p=0.02), positive CMV sero-status (OR 1.37 p=0.11), female gender (OR 1.43, p=0.07) and limited CBT center experience (<10 records contributed, OR 2.08, p=0.0003) to be associated with higher 100-day mortality. A multivariate model predictive of 1-year mortality included similar prognostic factors except female gender. Transplant year did not appear as a significant independent predictor. This is the first analysis to pool records from three major CBT registries in the US and Europe. Despite some differences in practice patterns, survival was remarkably homogeneous. The resulting model may contribute to better understanding factors affecting CBT outcomes.
Cord blood transplantation; registry; leukemia; mortality; leukemia
The anti-malaria drug artesunate has been shown to be an effective inhibitor of cytomegalovirus (CMV) in vitro, in an experimental animal model, and in a recent single-case clinical use. In this first case-series of 6 stem cell transplant recipients who received preemptive artesunate treatment for CMV infection, we have examined the viral kinetics following institution of artesunate, and employed first-phase viral kinetics studies to calculate its antiviral effectiveness. Two patients demonstrated a rapid 0.8-2.1 log viral load decline by 7 days, with a viral decay half-live of 0.9 -1.9d. Four patients demonstrated a continued yet stalled viral growth slope during treatment. No adverse events were noted in treatment courses of up to 28 days. Overall, a divergent antiviral efficacy was revealed, ranging from 43% to 90%, which appeared to be primarily dependent on the virus baseline growth dynamics. Further dose escalation studies are needed to examine the role of artesunate in the treatment of CMV infection in the transplantation setting.
cytomegalovirus; artesunate; antiviral drugs; viral kinetics
Multiple myeloma (MM) is a life-threatening haematological malignancy for which standard therapy is inadequate. Autologous stem cell transplantation is a relatively effective treatment, but residual malignant sites may cause relapse. Allogeneic transplantation may result in durable responses due to antitumour immunity mediated by donor lymphocytes. However, morbidity and mortality related to graft-versus-host disease remain a challenge. Recent advances in understanding the interaction between the immune system of the patient and the malignant cells are influencing the design of clinically more efficient study protocols for MM.
Cellular immunotherapy using specific antigen-presenting cells (APCs), to overcome aspects of immune incompetence in MM patients, has received great attention, and numerous clinical trials have evaluated the potential for dendritic cell (DC) vaccines as a novel immunotherapeutic approach. This paper will summarize the data investigating aspects of immunity concerning MM, immunotherapy for patients with MM, and strategies, on the way, to target the plasma cell more selectively. We also include the MM antigens and their specific antibodies that are of potential use for MM humoral immunotherapy, because they have demonstrated the most promising preclinical results.
Multiple Myeloma (MM) is a lymphatic neoplasm characterized by clonal proliferation of malignant plasma cell that eventually develops resistance to chemotherapy. Drug resistance, differentiation block and increased survival of the MM tumor cells result from high genomic instability. Chromosomal translocations, the most common genomic alterations in MM, lead to dysregulation of cyclin D, a regulatory protein that governs the activation of key cell cycle regulator – cyclin dependent kinase (CDK). Genomic instability was reported to be affected by over expression of another CDK regulator - cyclin E (CCNE). This occurs early in tumorigenesis in various lymphatic malignancies including CLL, NHL and HL. We therefore sought to investigate the role of cyclin E in MM. CCNE1 expression was found to be heterogeneous in various MM cell lines (hMMCLs). Incubation of hMMCLs with seliciclib, a selective CDK-inhibitor, results in apoptosis which is accompanied by down regulation of MCL1 and p27. Ectopic over expression of CCNE1 resulted in reduced sensitivity of the MM tumor cells in comparison to the paternal cell line, whereas CCNE1 silencing with siRNA increased the cell sensitivity to seliciclib. Adhesion to FN of hMMCLs was prevented by seliciclib, eliminating adhesion–mediated drug resistance of MM cells. Combination of seliciclib with flavopiridol effectively reduced CCNE1 and CCND1 protein levels, increased subG1 apoptotic fraction and promoted MM cell death in BMSCs co-culture conditions, therefore over-coming stroma-mediated protection. We suggest that seliciclib may be considered as essential component of modern anti MM drug combination therapy.
Promyelocytic leukemia-retinoic acid receptor alpha (PML-RARα) expression in acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) impairs transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) signaling, leading to cell growth advantage. Halofuginone (HF), a low-molecular-weight alkaloid that modulates TGFβ signaling, was used to treat APL cell lines and non-obese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficiency (NOD/SCID) mice subjected to transplantation with leukemic cells from human chorionic gonadotrophin-PML-RARα transgenic mice (TG). Cell cycle analysis using incorporated bromodeoxyuridine and 7-amino-actinomycin D showed that, in NB4 and NB4-R2 APL cell lines, HF inhibited cellular proliferation (P<0.001) and induced apoptosis (P = 0.002) after a 24-hour incubation. Addition of TGFβ revealed that NB4 cells were resistant to its growth-suppressive effects and that HF induced these effects in the presence or absence of the cytokine. Cell growth inhibition was associated with up-regulation of TGFβ target genes involved in cell cycle regulation (TGFB, TGFBRI, SMAD3, p15, and p21) and down-regulation of MYC. Additionally, TGFβ protein levels were decreased in leukemic TG animals and HF in vivo could restore TGFβ values to normal. To test the in vivo anti-leukemic activity of HF, we transplanted NOD/SCID mice with TG leukemic cells and treated them with HF for 21 days. HF induced partial hematological remission in the peripheral blood, bone marrow, and spleen. Together, these results suggest that HF has anti-proliferative and anti-leukemic effects by reversing the TGFβ blockade in APL. Since loss of the TGFβ response in leukemic cells may be an important second oncogenic hit, modulation of TGFβ signaling may be of therapeutic interest.
Heparanase is an endo–β–D-glucuronidase that cleaves heparan sulfate (HS) saccharide chains. The enzyme promotes cell adhesion, migration and invasion and plays a significant role in cancer metastasis, angiogenesis and inflammation. The present study focuses on the involvement of heparanase in autoimmunity, applying the murine experimental autoimmune encephalitis (EAE) model, a T cell dependent disease often used to investigate the pathophysiology of multiple sclerosis (MS). Intraperitoneal administration of recombinant heparanase ameliorated, in a dose dependent manner, the clinical signs of the disease. In vitro and in vivo studies revealed that heparanase inhibited mitogen induced splenocyte proliferation and mixed lymophocyte reaction (MLR) through modulation of their repertoire of cytokines indicated by a marked increase in the levels of IL-4, IL-6 and IL-10, and a parallel decrease in IL-12 and TNF-α. Similar results were obtained with active, latent, or point mutated inactive heparanase, indicating that the observed inhibitory effect is attributed to a non-enzymatic activity of the heparanase protein. We suggest that heparanase induces upregulation of Th2 cytokines, resulting in inhibition of the inflammatory lesion of EAE.
Heparanase; experimental autoimmune encephalitis; inflammation; cytokines
Aberrations of allelic replication timing are epigenetic markers observed in peripheral blood cells of cancer patients. The aberrant markers are non-cancer-type-specific and are accompanied by increased levels of sporadic aneuploidy. The study aimed at following the epigenetic markers and aneuploidy levels in cells of patients with haematological malignancies from diagnosis to full remission, as achieved by allogeneic stem cell transplantation (alloSCT).
TP53 (a tumor suppressor gene assigned to chromosome 17), AML1 (a gene assigned to chromosome 21 and involved in the leukaemia-abundant 8;21 translocation) and the pericentomeric satellite sequence of chromosome 17 (CEN17) were used for replication timing assessments. Aneuploidy was monitored by enumerating the copy numbers of chromosomes 17 and 21. Replication timing and aneuploidy were detected cytogenetically using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) technology applied to phytohemagglutinin (PHA)-stimulated lymphocytes.
We show that aberrant epigenetic markers are detected in patients with hematological malignancies from the time of diagnosis through to when they are scheduled to undergo alloSCT. These aberrations are unaffected by the clinical status of the disease and are displayed both during accelerated stages as well as in remission. Yet, these markers are eradicated completely following stem cell transplantation. In contrast, the increased levels of aneuploidy (irreversible genetic alterations) displayed in blood lymphocytes at various stages of disease are not eliminated following transplantation. However, they do not elevate and remain unchanged (stable state). A demethylating anti-cancer drug, 5-azacytidine, applied in vitro to lymphocytes of patients prior to transplantation mimics the effect of transplantation: the epigenetic aberrations disappear while aneuploidy stays unchanged.
The reversible nature of the replication aberrations may serve as potential epigenetic blood markers for evaluating the success of transplant or other treatments and for long-term follow up of the patients who have overcome a hematological malignancy.
Heparanase, endoglycosidase that cleaves heparan sulfate side chains of heparan sulfate proteoglycans, plays important roles in cancer metastasis, angiogenesis and inflammation.
Design and Methods
Applying a mouse model of bone marrow transplantation and transgenic mice over-expressing heparanase, we evaluated the effect of heparanase on the engraftment process and the development of graft-versus-host disease.
Analysis of F1 mice undergoing allogeneic bone marrow transplantation from C57BL/6 mice demonstrated a better and faster engraftment in mice receiving cells from donors that were pretreated with heparanase. Moreover, heparanase treated recipient F1 mice showed only a mild appearance of graft-versus-host disease and died 27 days post transplantation while control mice rapidly developed signs of graft-versus-host disease (i.e., weight loss, hair loss, diarrhea) and died after 12 days, indicating a protective effect of heparanase against graft-versus-host disease. Similarly, we applied transgenic mice over-expressing heparanase in most tissues as the recipients of BMT from C57BL/6 mice. Monitoring clinical parameters of graft-versus-host disease, the transgenic mice showed 100% survival on day 40 post transplantation, compared to only 50% survival on day 14, in the control group. In vitro and in vivo studies revealed that heparanase inhibited T cell function and activation through modulation of their cytokine repertoire, indicated by a marked increase in the levels of Interleukin-4, Interleukin-6 and Interleukin-10, and a parallel decrease in Interleukin-12, tumor necrosis factor-alfa and interferon-gamma. Using point mutated inactive enzyme, we found that the shift in cytokine profile was independent of heparanase enzymatic activity.
Our results indicate a significant role of heparanase in bone marrow transplantation biology, facilitating engraftment and suppressing graft-versus-host disease, apparently through an effect on T cell activation and cytokine production pattern.
The use of stem cells for reparative medicine was first proposed more than three decades ago. Hematopoietic stem cells from bone marrow, peripheral blood and human umbilical cord blood (CB) have gained major use for treatment of hematological indications. CB, however, is also a source of cells capable of differentiating into various non-hematopoietic cell types, including neural cells. Several animal model reports have shown that CB cells may be used for treatment of neurological injuries. This review summarizes the information available on the origin of CB-derived neuronal cells and the mechanisms proposed to explain their action. The potential use of stem/progenitor cells for treatment of ischemic brain injuries is discussed. Issues that remain to be resolved at the present stage of preclinical trials are addressed.
human umbilical cord blood stem cells; brain ischemia; neuroprotection
NK cells are key players in anti tumor immune response, which can be employed in cell-based therapeutic modalities. One of the suggested ways to amplify their anti tumor effect, especially in the field of stem cell transplantation, is by selecting donor/recipient mismatches in specific HLA, to reduce the inhibitory effect of killer Ig-like receptors (KIRs). Here we suggest an alternative approach for augmentation of anti tumor effect of allogeneic NK cells, which is founded on profile matching of donor NK lysis receptors (NKLR) phenotype with tumor lysis-ligands.
We show that an NKLR-mediated killing directly correlates with the NKLR expression intensity on NK cells. Considerable donor variability in the expression of CD16, NKp46, NKG2D and NKp30 on circulating NK cells, combined with the stability of phenotype in several independently performed tests over two months, indicates that NKLR-guided selection of donors is feasible. As a proof of concept, we show that melanoma cells are dominantly recognized by three NKLRs: NKG2D, NKp30 and NKp44. Notably, the expression of NKp30 on circulating NK cells among metastatic melanoma patients was significantly decreased, which diminishes their ability to kill melanoma cells. Ex vivo expansion of NK cells results not only in increased amount of cells but also in a consistently superior and predictable expression of NKG2D, NKp30 and NKp44. Moreover, expanded NK cultures with high expression of NKG2D or NKp30 were mostly derived from the corresponding NKG2Dhigh or NK30high donors. These NK cultures subsequently displayed an improved cytotoxic activity against melanoma in a HLA/KIR-ligand mismatched setup, which was NKLR-dependent, as demonstrated with blocking anti-NKG2D antibodies.
NKLR/NKLR-ligand matching reproducibly elicits enhanced NK anti-tumor response. Common NKLR recognition patterns of tumors, as demonstrated here in melanoma, would allow implementation of this approach in solid malignancies and potentially in hematological malignancies, either independently or in adjunction to other modalities.
We recently showed that freeze-dried cells stored for 3 years at room temperature can direct embryonic development following cloning. However, viability, as evaluated by membrane integrity of the cells after freeze-drying, was very low; and it was mainly the DNA integrity that was preserved. In the present study, we improved the cells' viability and functionality after freeze-drying.
We optimized the conditions of directional freezing, i.e. interface velocity and cell concentration, and we added the antioxidant EGCG to the freezing solution. The study was performed on mononuclear cells (MNCs) derived from human umbilical cord blood. After freeze-drying, we tested the viability, number of CD34+-presenting cells and ability of the rehydrated hematopoietic stem cells to differentiate into different blood cells in culture. The viability of the MNCs after freeze-drying and rehydration with pure water was 88%–91%. The total number of CD34+-presenting cells and the number of colonies did not change significantly when evaluated before freezing, after freeze-thawing, and after freeze-drying (5.4×104±4.7, 3.49×104±6 and 6.31×104±12.27 cells, respectively, and 31±25.15, 47±45.8 and 23.44±13.3 colonies, respectively).
This is the first report of nucleated cells which have been dried and then rehydrated with double-distilled water remaining viable, and of hematopoietic stem cells retaining their ability to differentiate into different blood cells.
The chemokine receptor CXCR4 and its ligand CXCL12 is overexpressed in the majority of tumors and is critically involved in the development and metastasis of these tumors. CXCR4 is expressed in malignant tumor cells whereas its ligand SDF-1 (CXCL12) is expressed mainly by cancer associated fibroblasts (CAF). Similarly to CXCR4, the chemokine CCL20 is overexpressed in variety of tumors; however its role and regulation in tumors is not fully clear. Here, we show that the chemokine receptor CXCR4 stimulates the production of the chemokine CCL20 and that CCL20 stimulates the proliferation and adhesion to collagen of various tumor cells. Furthermore, overexpression of CCL20 in tumor cells promotes growth and adhesion in vitro and increased tumor growth and invasiveness in vivo. Moreover, neutralizing antibodies to CCL20 inhibit the in vivo growth of tumors that either overexpress CXCR4 or CCL20 or naturally express CCL20. These results reveal a role for CCL20 in CXCR4-dependent and -independent tumor growth and suggest a therapeutic potential for CCL20 and CCR6 antagonists in the treatment of CXCR4- and CCL20-dependent malignancies.
The mechanisms governing hematopoietic progenitor cell mobilization are not fully understood. We report higher membrane type 1–MMP (MT1-MMP) and lower expression of the MT1-MMP inhibitor, reversion-inducing cysteine-rich protein with Kazal motifs (RECK), on isolated circulating human CD34+ progenitor cells compared with immature BM cells. The expression of MT1-MMP correlated with clinical mobilization of CD34+ cells in healthy donors and patients with lymphoid malignancies. Treatment with G-CSF further increased MT1-MMP and decreased RECK expression in human and murine hematopoietic cells in a PI3K/Akt-dependent manner, resulting in elevated MT1-MMP activity. Blocking MT1-MMP function by Abs or siRNAs impaired chemotaxis and homing of G-CSF–mobilized human CD34+ progenitors. The mobilization of immature and maturing human progenitors in chimeric NOD/SCID mice by G-CSF was inhibited by anti–MT1-MMP treatment, while RECK neutralization promoted motility and egress of BM CD34+ cells. BM c-kit+ cells from MT1-MMP–deficient mice also exhibited inferior chemotaxis, reduced homing and engraftment capacities, and impaired G-CSF–induced mobilization in murine chimeras. Membranal CD44 cleavage by MT1-MMP was enhanced following G-CSF treatment, reducing CD34+ cell adhesion. Accordingly, CD44-deficient mice had a higher frequency of circulating progenitors. Our results reveal that the motility, adhesion, homing, and mobilization of human hematopoietic progenitor cells are regulated in a cell-autonomous manner by dynamic and opposite changes in MT1-MMP and RECK expression.
Erythropoietin possesses cellular protection properties. The aim of the present study was to test the hypothesis that in situ expression of recombinant human erythropoietin (rhEPO) would improve tissue repair in rat after myocardial infarction (MI).
Methods and results
RhEPO-producing cardiac fibroblasts were generated ex vivo by transduction with retroviral vector. The anti-apoptotic effect of rhEPO-producing fibroblasts was evaluated by co-culture with rat neonatal cardiomyocytes exposed to H2O2-induced oxidative stress. Annexin V/PI assay and DAPI staining showed that compared with control, rhEPO forced expression markedly attenuated apoptosis and improved survival of cultured cardiomyocytes. To test the effect of rhEPO on the infarcted myocardium, Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to permanent coronary artery occlusion, and rhEPO-producing fibroblasts, non-transduced fibroblasts, or saline, were injected into the scar tissue seven days after infarction. One month later, immunostaining identified rhEPO expression in the implanted engineered cells but not in controls. Compared with non-transduced fibroblasts or saline injection, implanted rhEPO-producing fibroblasts promoted vascularization in the scar, and prevented cell apoptosis. By two-dimensional echocardiography and postmortem morphometry, transplanted EPO-engineered fibroblasts did not prevent left ventricular (LV) dysfunction and adverse LV remodeling 5 and 9 weeks after MI.
In situ expression of rhEPO enhances vascularization and reduces cell apoptosis in the infarcted myocardium. However, local EPO therapy is insufficient for functional improvement after MI in rat.
Alveolar soft-part sarcoma (ASPS) is a rare neoplasm with chromosomal translocation that results in ASPL-TFE3 fusion. It is a slow-growing lesion associated with a high incidence of pulmonary and brain metastases indicating poor survival. We demonstrated that the ASPS metastases include also stromal myofibroblasts. These cells proliferate, express smooth-muscle genes, and synthesize extracellular matrix proteins, all of which are characteristics of activated myofibroblasts. The tumor cells also exhibited stromal components such as transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ)-dependent, hypoxia-regulated cytoglobin (stellate cell activation association protein, cytg/STAP) and prolyl 4-hydroxylase, a collagen cross-linking enzyme. The pulmonary ASPS myofibroblasts synthesize serum response factor (SRF), a repressor of Smad3-mediated TGFβ signaling essential for myofibroblast differentiation and Smad3. The phosphorylated active Smad3 was found mostly in the tumor cells. The brain tumor cells express cytg/STAP, but in contrast to the lung metastases, they also express SRF, Smad3, and phospho-Smad3. Halofuginone, an inhibitor of myofibroblasts' activation and Smad3 phosphorylation, inhibited tumor development in xenografts derived from renal carcinoma cells harboring a reciprocal ASPL-TFE3 fusion transcript. This inhibition was associated with the inhibition of TGFβ/SRF signaling, with the inhibition of myofibroblasts' activation, and with the complete loss in TFE3 synthesis by the tumor cells. These results suggest that the myofibroblasts may serve as a novel target for treatment of ASPS metastases.
The chemokine stromal cell–derived factor–1 (SDF-1) and its receptor, CXCR4, play a major role in migration, retention, and development of hematopoietic progenitors in the bone marrow. We report the direct involvement of atypical PKC-ζ in SDF-1 signaling in immature human CD34+-enriched cells and in leukemic pre-B acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) G2 cells. Chemotaxis, cell polarization, and adhesion of CD34+ cells to bone marrow stromal cells were found to be PKC-ζ dependent. Overexpression of PKC-ζ in G2 and U937 cells led to increased directional motility to SDF-1. Interestingly, impaired SDF-1–induced migration of the pre-B ALL cell line B1 correlated with reduced PKC-ζ expression. SDF-1 triggered PKC-ζ phosphorylation, translocation to the plasma membrane, and kinase activity. Furthermore we identified PI3K as an activator of PKC-ζ, and Pyk-2 and ERK1/2 as downstream targets of PKC-ζ. SDF-1–induced proliferation and MMP-9 secretion also required PKC-ζ activation. Finally, we showed that in vivo engraftment, but not homing, of human CD34+-enriched cells to the bone marrow of NOD/SCID mice was PKC-ζ dependent and that injection of mice with inhibitory PKC-ζ pseudosubstrate peptides resulted in mobilization of murine progenitors. Our results demonstrate a central role for PKC-ζ in SDF-1–dependent regulation of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell motility and development.