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Blood. 2004 Jan 15;103(2):679-88. Epub 2003 Sep 22.

Involvement of BAFF and APRIL in the resistance to apoptosis of B-CLL through an autocrine pathway.

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U365 INSERM, Institut Curie, 26 rue d'Ulm, 75248 Paris Cedex 05, France.


Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) superfamily members BAFF, or B-cell activation factor of the TNF family, and APRIL, a proliferation-inducing ligand, are involved in normal B-cell survival and differentiation. They interact with 3 receptors: BAFF-R, specific to BAFF; and TACI and BCMA, which are shared by BAFF and APRIL. We tested the potential role of these proteins in B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL) resistance to apoptosis. TACI and BAFF-R mRNAs were found in leukemic B cells. BAFF and APRIL mRNAs and proteins were detected in B-CLL leukemic cells and normal blood or tonsil-derived B lymphocytes. Yet, in contrast to normal B lymphocytes, BAFF and APRIL were expressed at the membranes of leukemic cells. Adding soluble BAFF or APRIL protected B-CLL cells against spontaneous and drug-induced apoptosis and stimulated NF-kappaB activation. Conversely, adding soluble BCMA-Fc or anti-BAFF and anti-APRIL antibodies enhanced B-CLL apoptosis. Moreover, a soluble form of BAFF was detected using surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (SELDI-TOF MS) in the sera of B-CLL patients but not of healthy donors. Taken together, our results indicate that B-CLL cells can be rescued from apoptosis through an autocrine process involving BAFF, APRIL, and their receptors. Inhibiting BAFF and APRIL pathways may be of therapeutic value for B-CLL treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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