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Br J Haematol. 2014 Dec;167(5):651-63. doi: 10.1111/bjh.13092. Epub 2014 Aug 21.

Stimulation of invariant natural killer T cells by α-Galactosylceramide activates the JAK-STAT pathway in endothelial cells and reduces angiogenesis in the 5T33 multiple myeloma model.

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Department of Haematology and Immunology, Myeloma Centre Brussels, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Brussels, Belgium; Department of Biology, Faculty of Science and Technology, Hebron University, Hebron, Palestine.


Tumour pathogenesis in multiple myeloma (MM) correlates with a high vascular index. Therefore, targeting angiogenesis is an important therapeutic tool to reduce MM progression. This study aimed to investigate the role of invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells in angiogenesis and the mechanisms behind the stimulation by α-Galactosylceramide (α-GalCer). We have previously found that α-GalCer could increase the survival of 5T33MM mice and here we demonstrate that α-GalCer reduces the microvessel density. We performed both in vivo and in vitro angiogenic assays to confirm this observation. We found that conditioned medium of α-GalCer stimulated iNKT cells reduced neovascularization in the chick chorioallantoic membrane and in matrigel plug assays. Moreover, we observed a reduction in proliferation, migration and network formation and an induction of apoptosis upon exposure of murine endothelial cell lines to this conditioned medium. We furthermore observed that the JAK-STAT signaling pathway was highly activated in endothelial cells in response to stimulated iNKT cells, indicating the possible role of IFN-γ in the anti-angiogenic process. In conclusion, these results highlight the possibility of recruiting iNKT cells to target MM and angiogenesis. This gives a rationale for combining immunotherapy with conventional anti-tumour treatments in view of increasing their therapeutic potential.


JAK-STAT pathway; MM-induced angiogenesis; invariant natural killer T cells; multiple myeloma; α-Galactosylceramide

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