Blood Journal
Leading the way in experimental and clinical research in hematology

Interferon-alpha overrides the deficient adhesion of chronic myeloid leukemia primitive progenitor cells to bone marrow stromal cells

  1. C Dowding,
  2. AP Guo,
  3. J Osterholz,
  4. M Siczkowski,
  5. J Goldman, and
  6. M Gordon
  1. MRC/LRF Leukaemia Unit, Royal Postgraduate Medical School, London, UK.

Abstract

Primitive blast colony-forming cells (BI-CFC) from chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients are defective in their attachment to bone marrow-derived stromal cells compared with normal BI-CFC. We investigated the effect of recombinant interferon-alpha 2a (IFN-alpha) on this interaction between hematopoietic progenitor cells and bone marrow-derived stromal cells by culturing normal stromal cells with IFN- alpha (50 to 5,000 U/mL). At 50 U/mL we found that: (1) the capacity of stromal cells to bind two types of CML primitive progenitor cells (BI- CFC and long-term culture-initiating cells) was increased; and (2) the amount of sulfated glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) in the stromal layer was increased. However, sulfated GAGs were not directly involved in binding CML BI-CFC, unlike binding by normal BI-CFC, which is sulfated GAG- dependent. Neuraminidase-treated control stromal cells bound an increased number of CML BI-CFC, reproducing the effect of IFN-alpha, whereas the binding to IFN-alpha-treated stromal cells was unaffected by neuraminidase treatment. Thus, the enhanced attachment by primitive CML progenitor cells to INF-alpha-treated stromal cells might be due to changes in the neuraminic acid composition in the stromal cell layer. Our in vitro evidence may provide insights into the mechanism of action of IFN-alpha in vivo. Prolonged administration may alter the marrow microenvironment in some patients such that it can restrain the aberrant proliferation of Philadelphia chromosome (Ph)-positive stem cells while permitting Ph-negative stem cells to function normally.