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Leukemia. 2009 Nov;23(11):2118-28. doi: 10.1038/leu.2009.145. Epub 2009 Aug 6.

Different proliferative and survival capacity of CLL-cells in a newly established in vitro model for pseudofollicles.

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Institute of Pathology, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany.


Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a malignancy of mature B-lymphocytes that manifests in a variety of clinical courses. The accumulation of CLL-cells is primarily caused by defective apoptosis; however, a higher proliferative capacity has also been found to correlate with poorer prognostic factors. Proliferating CLL-cells are confined to specialized structures called pseudofollicles, which contain CLL-cells, T-lymphocytes, and stromal cells. We established an in vitro model for pseudofollicles to characterize the behavior of CLL-cells in relation to clinical courses with different outcomes. Only CLL-cells from progressive clinical cases were inducible to proliferate by a combination of soluble CD40L/IL-2/IL-10 in co-culture with stromal cells. Proliferating CLL-cells showed a higher and more extensive expression of antigens, which are important in T-B-cell interactions such as CD40, MHC II, and adhesion molecules. IL-4 increased interferon regulatory factor-4 expression and induced a specific immunophenotype, which may imply plasmacytic differentiation. Furthermore, it was shown that co-cultured stromal cells protected CLL-cells from apoptosis. CLL-cells from clinically indolent cases had a far worse survival rate in medium than the cells from poor prognostic cases. Thus, we can assume that not only a different resistance to apoptosis, but also proliferation contributes to the progression of CLL resulting in bone marrow failure with thrombocytopenia and anemia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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