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Cell Death Differ. 2000 Jan;7(1):59-69.

Micro-environmental factors in the survival of human B-lymphoma cells.

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Institute of Cell Signalling, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Nottingham Medical School, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham, NG7 2UH, UK.


Burkitt lymphoma (BL) cells retain a high inherent propensity to undergo apoptosis indicating that net growth of the tumour population in vivo is likely to be influenced profoundly by its micro-environment. Here we investigate micro-environmental factors that affect BL-cell survival in vitro. We show that survival, and consequently net production, of tumour cells is enhanced by autocrine factors and, to a greater extent, by paracrine factors provided by relevant stromal elements of the tumour (fibroblasts and follicular dendritic cells) and by macrophages. Promotion of BL-cell survival by paracrine elements was mediated by cell/cell contact and by short-range soluble factor(s). IL-4, IL-10 and TNF-alpha promoted, whereas TGF-beta1 inhibited, tumour-cell production. Macrophages engaged in phagocytosis of apoptotic BL cells were less effective than untreated macrophages in supporting net expansion of BL populations. These results suggest that the net production of tumour cells in BL is supported by multiple micro-environmental factors that modulate apoptosis.

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