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Leuk Lymphoma. 2003 Aug;44(8):1339-46.

Imbalance between apoptosis and telomerase activity in myelodysplastic syndromes: possible role in ineffective hemopoiesis.

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Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, Fukuoka University, Nanakuma 7-45-1, Jonanku, Fukuoka 814-01, Japan.


The myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are a group of disorders characterized by peripheral pancytopenia despite normo- or hyper-cellular bone marrow. This is thought to be due to apoptosis of hematopoietic bone marrow cells, resulting in ineffective hematopoiesis. The heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) B1 is involved in pre-mRNA processing and binds to telomeric cDNA repeats. The hnRNP B1 is a marker for early cancer. The aim of our study was to clarify the relationships between prognosis and apoptosis, telomerase activity (TA) and hnRNP expression in the bone marrow. The subjects were 51 patients with MDS, including patients with refractory anemia (RA) (n = 32), refractory anemia with ringed sideroblasts (RARS) (n = 1), refractory anemia with excess blasts (RAEB) (n = 7), refractory anemia with excess blasts in transformation (RAEB-t) (n = 8) and chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMMoL) (n = 3). We also studied 6 cases with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) arising from MDS (AML-MDS) and 10 control subjects. Bone marrow biopsies were stained immunohistochemically for caspase-3 (marker of apoptotic activity) and human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT), and hnRNP B1. Fatal pancytopenia was the cause of death in 19 of the 51 patients. The caspase-3 positive cell rate was higher in MDS (16.3%) than in controls (4.4%) and AML-MDS (0.5%). The percentage of hnRNP B1-positive cells was higher in MDS (15.3%) and AML-MDS (56.3%) than in controls (5.6%). In MDS, hnRNP B1 levels were higher in RAEB and RAEB-t subtypes than in RA and RARS. The percentage of hTERT-positive cells was higher in AML-MDS (50.0%) than in controls (20.2%) and MDS (23.6%). Our findings suggest that activation of apoptosis occurs in MDS in the absence of hTERT expression, implicating high apoptosis in the absence of high TA with ineffective hematopoiesis. Poor prognosis correlated with higher caspase-3 and lower hTERT rates. In MDS, hnRNP B1 activity may be associated with leukemic transformation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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