Objective: Leukemia-initiating cells can retrospectively be defined by tumorigenicity in immunodeficient mice and be characterized by surface markers. The latter still being discussed for acute myeloid leukemia (AML), nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient (NOD/SCID) mice were used to evaluate long-time reconstitution and expansion of AML subpopulations.
Materials and methods: Bone marrow cells from patients with AML were separated according to CD34 expression, aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) activity, and divisional kinetics in comparison to cord blood-derived CD34(+) hematopoietic stem cells, evaluating survival and expansion in NOD/SCID mice. The AML long-term surviving capacity of subpopulations recovered from NOD/SCID mice was confirmed by ex vivo survival.
Results: AML mononuclear cells were detected in bone marrow and spleen of NOD/SCID mice 12 weeks after transplantation. The majority of recovered cells were CD34(+) and significantly more CD34(+) cells were recovered after application of ALDH(bright) (high ALDH activity), CD34(+), or slowly dividing (PKH(bright)) than after ALDH(dim), CD34(-), or fast dividing (PKH(dim)) cell application. CD123(+), CD63(+), and CD44v7(+) cells were also more abundant after the transfer of ALDH(bright) or CD34(+) AML mononuclear cells. In the spleen, large AML cell clusters were only recovered after ALDH(bright), CD34(+), or PKH(bright) cell transfer. Importantly, in secondary long-term in vitro cultures, quite exclusively CD34(+) AML mononuclear cells survived and expanded.
Conclusions: Separation of ALDH(bright), CD34(+), or PKH(bright) cells enriches for AML long-term surviving capacity, which reside in the CD34(+) subpopulation, as rather exclusively CD34(+) cells survived and expanded in vivo and ex vivo. Long-term survival capacity may be supported by CD44v7 expression.
Copyright © 2011 ISEH - Society for Hematology and Stem Cells. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.