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Leuk Lymphoma. 1997 Feb;24(5-6):423-35.

VLA-4-mediated interactions between normal human hematopoietic progenitors and stromal cells.

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  • 1GSF-Forschungszentrum für Umwelt und Gesundheit, Institut für Experimentelle Hämatologie, München, Germany. oostendorp@haema114.gsf.de.


The alpha 4 beta 1 integrin very late activation antigen-4 (VLA-4) has been implicated to play a role in the adhesive interactions between hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPC) and bone marrow stromal cells which express the vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) or produce fibronectin (FN). Here, we summarize some of the recent advances made in the elucidation of the role of these particular adhesive interactions for the regulation of normal hematopoiesis. HPC bind to stroma mainly through VLA-4/VCAM-1 interactions. There is evidence which suggests that more primitive HPC constitutively express VLA-4 in a high-affinity state. In vitro studies in the mouse have shown that monoclonal antibodies (mAb) against VLA-4 partly block the development of lymphocytes, myelopoietic cells, and erythropoiesis, whereas in the human system outgrowth of TdT+ B cells is severely retarded by such mAb. In vivo studies revealed that VLA-4 is involved in erythropoietic development, and is particularly important for homing and lodgement of HPC in the bone marrow. Hematopoiesis in mice with deficient expression of alpha 4 integrin or VLA-4's ligand VCAM-1 appears to develop normally. However, chimeras developed from wild-type blastocysts and beta 1 -/- embryonic stem cells do not contain beta 1 -/- hematopoietic cells, although these are present as blood islands in the yolk sac. These beta 1 -/- hematopoietic cells are capable of forming colonies, indicating that beta 1-integrin is not involved in hematopoietic differentiation, but is primarily important for migration of hematopoietic cells into the fetal hematopoietic organs. In addition to the role of VLA-4 in migration, it may also have other regulatory functions. It has been demonstrated that ligation of VLA-4 induces phosphorylation of the protein tyrosine kinase (PTK) pp125FAK as well as other proteins which may be involved in the regulation of ligand affinity. Indeed, it has been shown that tyrosine kinase-dependent stimulation of CD34+ hematopoietic cell lines with c-kit ligand (KL), IL-3 or GM-CSF transiently activates the ability of VLA-4 to bind to VCAM-1 or FN. These events are most probably involved in the induction of quiescence in HPC which adhere to stromal cells. This claim was recently substantiated: when HPC were treated with Fab fragments of an anti-VLA-4 mAb, entry into S-phase of the cell cycle was prevented. Taken together, the present data point to a role for VLA-4 in HPC migration, cell cycle regulation, erythropoiesis and B-lymphopoiesis. Moreover, these insights may explain how defects in adhesive behavior of leukemic HPC through VLA-4 contribute to their dysregulated growth and provide a rationale for therapeutically correcting those defects.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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