Research Papers:

Factors involved in CLL pathogenesis and cell survival are disrupted by differentiation of CLL B-cells into antibody-secreting cells

Hussein Ghamlouch _, Walaa Darwiche, Ahmed Hodroge, Hakim Ouled-Haddou, Sébastien Dupont, Amrathlal Rabbind Singh, Caroline Guignant, Stéphanie Trudel, Bruno Royer, Brigitte Gubler and Jean-Pierre Marolleau

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:18484-18503. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.3941

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Hussein Ghamlouch1,2,5, Walaa Darwiche3, Ahmed Hodroge1, Hakim Ouled-Haddou1, Sébastien Dupont1,5, Amrathlal Rabbind Singh1, Caroline Guignant1,2, Stéphanie Trudel1,4, Bruno Royer1,5, Brigitte Gubler1,2,4,*, Jean-Pierre Marolleau1,5,*

1EA4666, LNPC, Université de Picardie Jules Verne, Amiens, France

2Department of Immunology, Amiens University Medical Center, Amiens, France

3PériTox, Périnatalité & Risques Toxiques, UMR-I 01 Unité mixte INERIS, Amiens, France

4Department of Molecular Oncobiology, Amiens University Medical Center, Amiens, France

5Department of Clinical Hematology and Cell Therapy, Amiens University Medical Center, Amiens, France

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Hussein Ghamlouch, e-mail: [email protected]

Jean-Pierre Marolleau, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: chronic lymphocytic leukemia, B-cell differentiation, apoptosis, LEF1, ROR1

Received: March 10, 2015     Accepted: April 28, 2015     Published: May 11, 2015


Recent research has shown that chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) B-cells display a strong tendency to differentiate into antibody-secreting cells (ASCs) and thus may be amenable to differentiation therapy. However, the effect of this differentiation on factors associated with CLL pathogenesis has not been reported. In the present study, purified CLL B-cells were stimulated to differentiate into ASCs by phorbol myristate acetate or CpG oligodeoxynucleotide, in combination with CD40 ligand and cytokines in a two-step, seven-day culture system. We investigated (i) changes in the immunophenotypic, molecular, functional, morphological features associated with terminal differentiation into ASCs, (ii) the expression of factors involved in CLL pathogenesis, and (iii) the expression of pro- and anti-apoptotic proteins in the differentiated cells. Our results show that differentiated CLL B-cells are able to display the transcriptional program of ASCs. Differentiation leads to depletion of the malignant program and deregulation of the apoptosis/survival balance. Analysis of apoptosis and the cell cycle showed that differentiation is associated with low cell viability and a low rate of cell cycle entry. Our findings shed new light on the potential for differentiation therapy as a part of treatment strategies for CLL.

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