Development of CLL in the TCL1 transgenic mouse model is associated with severe skewing of the T-cell compartment homologous to human CLL

Leukemia. 2011 Sep;25(9):1452-8. doi: 10.1038/leu.2011.111. Epub 2011 May 24.


Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells require complex microenvironmental and immunologic interactions to survive and proliferate. Such interactions might be best recreated in animal models; however, this needs extensive verification. We therefore investigated the composition of the T-cell compartment in the Eμ-TCL1 transgenic mouse, currently the most widely used murine model for CLL. Immunophenotyping and transplant approaches were used to define T-cell subsets at various stages of CLL. Analogous to human CLL, we observed a skewing of T-cell subsets from naive to antigen-experienced memory T cells that was more pronounced in lymph nodes than in blood. Transplantation of CLL into non-transgenic recipients was feasible without immunosuppression in a pure C57BL/6 background and resulted in the prominent skewing of the T cells of the recipient mice. Both in spontaneously developed CLL and in the transplantation setting, a loss in T-cell receptor diversity was observed, with a relevant number of clonal T-cell populations arising. This suggests that antigen-dependent differentiation toward the T memory pool is initiated by murine CLL cells. In summary, we validate the TCL1 transgenic mouse model for analysis of T-cell phenotypes and suggest a CLL-dependent antigen-driven skewing of T cells in these mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell / etiology*
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / physiology*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Tcl1 protein, mouse