Bone marrow stromal cells regulate caspase 3 activity in leukemic cells during chemotherapy

Leuk Res. 2001 Oct;25(10):901-7. doi: 10.1016/s0145-2126(01)00051-0.


The interaction between leukemic cells and stromal cells of the bone marrow microenvironment has been shown to enhance leukemic cell survival during exposure to chemotherapeutic agents. In the current study we investigated whether association of B lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemic cells with human bone marrow stromal cells altered caspase activation during chemotherapy treatment. Following treatment with Ara-C or VP-16 in vitro, caspase 3 activity in leukemic cells was consistently reduced by co-culture of leukemic cells with human bone marrow stromal cell layers. These observations suggest that the protective effect of the bone marrow microenvironment on leukemic cells may be due, in part, to regulation of caspase 3 activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Bone Marrow Cells / physiology*
  • Caspase 3
  • Caspases / metabolism*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects*
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Cytarabine / pharmacology
  • Etoposide / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / enzymology*
  • Stromal Cells / physiology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Cytarabine
  • Etoposide
  • CASP3 protein, human
  • Caspase 3
  • Caspases