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Blood. 2010 Dec 9;116(24):5228-36. doi: 10.1182/blood-2010-03-275925. Epub 2010 Sep 14.

Follicular dendritic cell-dependent drug resistance of non-Hodgkin lymphoma involves cell adhesion-mediated Bim down-regulation through induction of microRNA-181a.

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Department of Malignant Hematology, Molecular Oncology and Experimental Therapeutics Program, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute at the University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA.


Follicular dendritic cells (FDCs), an essential component of the lymph node microenvironment, regulate and support B-lymphocyte differentiation, survival, and lymphoma progression. Here, we demonstrate that adhesion of mantle cell lymphoma and other non-Hodgkin lymphoma cells to FDCs reduces cell apoptosis and is associated with decreased levels of the proapoptotic protein, Bim. Bim down-regulation is posttranscriptionally regulated via up-regulation of microRNA-181a (miR-181a). miR-181a overexpression decreases, whereas miR-181a inhibition increases Bim levels by directly targeting Bim. Furthermore, we found that cell adhesion-up-regulated miR-181a contributes to FDC-mediated cell survival through Bim down-regulation, implicating miR-181a as an upstream effector of the Bim-apoptosis signaling pathway. miR-181a inhibition and Bim upregulation significantly suppressed FDC-mediated protection against apoptosis in lymphoma cell lines and primary lymphoma cells. Thus, FDCs protect B-cell lymphoma cells against apoptosis, in part through activation of a miR-181a-dependent mechanism involving down-regulation of Bim expression. We demonstrate, for the first time, that cell-cell contact controls tumor cell survival and apoptosis via microRNA in mantle cell and other non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Regulation of microRNAs by B-cell-FDC interaction may support B-cell survival, representing a novel molecular mechanism for cell adhesion-mediated drug resistance and a potential therapeutic target in B-cell lymphomas.

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