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Blood. 2011 Apr 14;117(15):e131-41. doi: 10.1182/blood-2010-10-316224. Epub 2011 Feb 17.

High-resolution kinetics of cytokine signaling in human CD34/CD117-positive cells in unfractionated bone marrow.

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Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA.


Cytokine-mediated phosphorylation of Erk (pErk), ribosomal S6 (pS6), and Stat5 (pStat5) in CD34(+)/CD117(+) blast cells in normal bone marrow from 9 healthy adult donors were analyzed over 60 minutes. Treatment with stem cell factor (SCF), Flt3-ligand (FL), IL-3, and GM-CSF and measurement by multiparametric flow cytometry yielded distinctive, highly uniform phosphoprotein kinetic profiles despite a diverse sample population. The correlated responses for SCF- and FL-stimulated pErk and pS6 were similar. Half the population phosphorylated Erk in response to SCF between 0.9 and 1.2 minutes, and S6 phosphorylation followed approximately a minute later (t½(pS6 rise) = 2.2-2.7 minutes). The FL response was equally fast but more variable (t½(pErk rise) = 0.9-1.3 minutes; t½(pS6 rise) = 2.5-3.5 minutes). Stat5 was not activated in 97% of the cells by either cytokine. IL-3 and GM-CSF were similar to each other with half of blast cells phosphorylating Stat5 and 15% to 20% responding through Erk and S6. Limited comparison with leukemic blasts confirmed universal abnormal signaling in AML that is significantly different from normal bone marrow blasts. These differences included sustained signals, a larger fraction of responding cells, and amplification of phosphorylation levels for at least one phosphoprotein. These data support the eventual use of this approach for disease diagnosis and monitoring.

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