Mesenchymal stem cells gene signature in high-risk myeloma bone marrow linked to suppression of distinct IGFBP2-expressing small adipocytes

Br J Haematol. 2019 Feb;184(4):578-593. doi: 10.1111/bjh.15669. Epub 2018 Nov 8.


Recent studies suggest that multiple myeloma (MM) induces proliferation and expansion of bone marrow (BM) mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), but others showed that MM cells induce MSC senescence. To clarify the interaction between MM and MSCs, we exploited our established MSC gene signature to identify gene expression changes in myeloma MSCs and associated functional differences. Single MSCs from patients with MM had changes in expression of genes associated with cellular proliferation and senescence and a higher proportion of senescent cells and lower proliferative potential than those from age-matched healthy donors. Single MSCs from both sources heterogeneously express MSC genes associated with adipogenesis and osteoblastogenesis. We identified the gene encoding insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 2 (IGFBP2), an MSC gene commonly altered in high risk MM, as under-expressed. Morphologically, IGFBP2+ cells are underrepresented in MM BM compared to smouldering MM. Strong IGFBP2 and adiponectin co-expression was detected in a subset of small adipocytes. Co-culturing normal MSCs with myeloma cells suppressed MSC differentiation to adipocytes and osteoblasts, and reduced expression of IGFBP2 and adiponectin. Recombinant IGFBP2 blocked IGF1-mediated myeloma cell growth. Our data demonstrate that myeloma MSCs are less proliferative and that IGFBP2+ small adipocytes are a distinct mesenchymal cell population suppressed by myeloma.

Keywords: IGFBP2; adipocytes; bone marrow; microenvironment; myeloma.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes* / metabolism
  • Adipocytes* / pathology
  • Bone Marrow* / metabolism
  • Bone Marrow* / pathology
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 2 / biosynthesis*
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells* / metabolism
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells* / pathology
  • Multiple Myeloma* / metabolism
  • Multiple Myeloma* / pathology
  • Neoplasm Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Risk Factors


  • IGFBP2 protein, human
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 2
  • Neoplasm Proteins