Objective: T cell dysfunction is a common characteristic of patients with myeloid leukemia and is closely related to clinical efficacy and prognosis. In order to clarify the mechanisms leading to the T cell dysfunction, we characterized the gene expression profile of T cells from chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) patients by microarray analysis and investigated the related regulating pathway.
Methods: We employed gene expression profiling, bioinformatics and real-time quantitative reverse transcription PCR (RT-qPCR) to detect genes differentially expressed in CML patients versus healthy donors.
Results: There were 1704 genes differentially expressed between CD3+ T cells from CML patients and healthy donors, including 868 up-regulated genes and 836 down-regulated genes, which mostly related to T cell functional pathways. In particular, lower expression of NFATC1, a member of the TCR signaling pathway, was detected in CD3+ T cells from CML patients. We further found that the expression of IRF4 and BACH2, transcription factors that potentially regulate NFATC1, in CD3+ T cells from CML patients was significantly lower than that in healthy donors.
Conclusion: We for the first time observed the altered gene expression profiles of CD3+ T cells from CML patients, and the results suggested that IRF4, BACH2 and NFATC1 may be involved in regulating T cell dysfunction in CML patients in the form of a transcriptional regulatory network. These findings may provide potential targets for tyrosine kinase inhibitors in combination with other targeted immunotherapies .
Keywords: BACH2; CML; IRF4; NFATC1; T cell; T cell dysfunction; immunotherapy.