Mesenchymal stem cells promote leukaemic cells aberrant phenotype from B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

Hematol Oncol Stem Cell Ther. 2013 Sep-Dec;6(3-4):89-100. doi: 10.1016/j.hemonc.2013.09.002. Epub 2013 Oct 24.


Background and objectives: The role of bone marrow-mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSC) in leukaemic cell control is controversial. The purpose of this work was to evaluate BM-MSC role regarding the viability, proliferation and immunophenotype of normal B-cell precursors from control (Ct) patients and leukaemic cells from B-acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (B-ALL) patients.

Patients and methods: BM-MSC were isolated and characterised from voluntary donors. Mononuclear cells isolated from Ct and B-ALL bone marrow samples were cultured in the presence or absence of BM-MSC for 7days. Cell viability was determined with LIVE/DEAD and proliferation index evaluated by CFSE labelling. Cell population immunophenotypes were characterised by estimating CD19, CD10, CD20 and CD45 antigens by flow cytometry.

Results: After co-culture, B-ALL cells exhibited higher viability (20-40%) as compared to just cells (3-10%). Ct and B-ALL absolute cell counts were higher in the presence of BM-MSC (Ct: 25/mm(3)cf8/mm(3), B-ALL: 15/mm(3)cf3/mm(3)). Normal B-cell subpopulations in co-culture had increased expression of CD19 and CD10 (Pre-pre B) and CD45 and CD20 antigens (Pre-B). B-ALL cells co-cultured with BM-MSC showed an increase in CD19 and CD20, although the greatest increase was observed in the CD10 antigen.

Conclusions: Lymphoid cell maintenance, at early stages of differentiation, was significantly promoted by BM-MSC in normal and leukaemic cells. Co-cultures also modulated the expression of antigens associated with the B-ALL asynchronous phenotype as CD10 co-expressed with CD19 and CD20. To our knowledge, this is the first time that CD10, CD19 and CD20 leukaemic antigens have been reported as being regulated by BM-MSC.

MeSH terms

  • B-Lymphocytes / pathology*
  • Bone Marrow Cells / pathology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Shape
  • Cell Survival
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / pathology*
  • Multipotent Stem Cells / pathology
  • Phenotype
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / immunology
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / pathology*