The effect of Bcr-Abl protein tyrosine kinase on maturation and proliferation of primitive haematopoietic cells.

A. M. Buckle, R. Mottram, A. Pierce, G. S. Lucas, N. Russell, J. A. Miyan, A. D. Whetton

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    BACKGROUND: Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML) is characterised by the chromosomal translocation resulting in expression of the Bcr-Abl protein tyrosine kinase (PTK) in early stem cells and their progeny. However the precise nature of Bcr-Abl effects in primitive CML stem cells remains a matter of active debate. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Extremely primitive Bcr-Abl fusion positive cells were purified from patients with CML using multiparameter flow cytometric analysis of CD34, Thy, and lineage marker (Lin) expression, plus rhodamine-123 (Rh-123) brightness. Progenitor cells of increasing maturity were examined for cycling status by flow cytometry and their proliferative status directly correlated with cell phenotype. The activation status of a key transcription factor, signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT-5), was also analyzed by immunocytochemistry. RESULTS: The most primitive stem cells currently defined (CD34+Lin-Thy+ Rh-1231o) were present as a lower proportion of the stem cell compartment (CD34+Lin-) of CML patients at presentation than of normal individuals (2.3% +/- 0.4 compared with 5.1% +/- 0.6 respectively). Conversely there was a significantly higher proportion of the more mature cells (CD34+Lin-Thy-Rh-123 hi) in CML patients than in normal individuals (79.3 +/- 1.8 compared with 70.9 +/- 3.3). No primitive subpopulation of CML CD34+Lin- cells was cycling to a significantly greater degree than cells from normal donors, in fact, late progenitor cells (CD34+Lin+) were cycling significantly less in CML samples than normal samples. STAT5, however, was observed to be activated in CML cells. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that no subpopulation of CML stem cells displays significantly increased cell cycling. Thus, increased cycling cannot be a direct consequence of Bcr-Abl PTK acquisition in highly enriched stem cells from patients with CML. In vivo CML need not be considered a disease of unbridled stem cell proliferation, but a subtle defect in the balance between self renewal and maturation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)892-902
    Number of pages10
    JournalMolecular medicine (Cambridge, Mass.)
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2000


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