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Exp Hematol. 2009 Apr;37(4):461-8. doi: 10.1016/j.exphem.2008.12.008.

Effects of imatinib mesylate in osteoblastogenesis.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, Division of Hematology, University of Catania, Ospedale Ferrarotto, Catania, Italy.


Imatinib mesylate (IM), a tyrosine kinase inhibitor currently used in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), may also affect the growth of other cellular systems besides CML cells. Because it has been reported that IM may affect bone tissue remodeling, we evaluated the effects of IM on osteoblastic differentiation of human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (hBM-MSCs). After 21 days of culture, hBM-MSCs treated with IM (1 microM) alone or osteogenic medium (OM) + IM showed changes in morphology with evidence of extracellular mineralization and increased mRNA expression of osteogenic markers, such as RUNX2, osteocalcin (OCN), and bone morphogenetic protein (BMP-2). We also observed that levels of OCN and the osteoprotegerin (OPG)/receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappa B ligand (RANKL) ratio (OPG/RANKL ratio) were increased in the surnatant of the 21-day culture with IM or OM + IM compared to controls (p<0.005). In addition, we found that in 46 serum samples collected from CML patients treated with IM for 3 to 24 months, the OPG/RANKL ratio increased after 3 and 6 months (p<0.004) returning back to the basal level after 24 months of IM treatment. In these patients, OCN levels were low at diagnosis but they increased throughout the IM treatment, approaching normal levels at 24 months of IM therapy. In summary, our data show that IM increases mRNA expression of osteogenic markers in hBM-MSCs and increases the OPG/RANKL ratio and the OCN levels both in surnatant of hBM-MSCs cultured with IM and in serum of patients treated with IM, thus indicating that IM potentially favors osteoblastogenesis.

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