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Braz J Med Biol Res. 2006 May;39(5):615-20. Epub 2006 Apr 20.

Asynchronous expression of myeloid antigens in leukemic cells in a PML/RARalpha transgenic mouse model.

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Divisão de Hematologia e Centro de Terapia Celular, Departamento de Clínica Médica, Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brasil.


Acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) is characterized by the expansion of blasts that resemble morphologically promyelocytes and harbor a chromosomal translocation involving the retinoic acid receptor alpha (RARalpha) and the promyelocytic leukemia (PML) genes on chromosomes 17 and 15, respectively. The expression of the PML/RARalpha fusion gene is essential for APL genesis. In fact, transgenic mice (TM) expressing PML/RARalpha develop a form of leukemia that mimics the hematological findings of human APL. Leukemia is diagnosed after a long latency (approximately 12 months) during which no hematological abnormality is detected in peripheral blood (pre-leukemic phase). In humans, immunophenotypic analysis of APL blasts revealed distinct features; however, the precise immunophenotype of leukemic cells in the TM model has not been established. Our aim was to characterize the expression of myeloid antigens by leukemic cells from hCG-PML/RARalpha TM. In this study, TM (N = 12) developed leukemia at the mean age of 13.1 months. Morphological analysis of bone marrow revealed an increase of the percentage of immature myeloid cells in leukemic TM compared to pre-leukemic TM and wild-type controls (48.63 +/- 16.68, 10.83 +/- 8.11, 7.4 +/- 5.46%, respectively; P < 0.05). Flow cytometry analysis of bone marrow and spleen from leukemic TM identified the asynchronous co-expression of CD34, CD117, and CD11b. This abnormal phenotype was rarely detected prior to the diagnosis of leukemia and was present at similar frequencies in hematologically normal TM and wild-type controls of different ages. The present results demonstrate that, similarly to human APL, leukemic cells from hCG-PML/RARalpha TM present a specific immunophenotype.

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