Publications by authors named "Guntram Büsche"

61 Publications

Genome-wide DNA methylation profiling is able to identify prefibrotic PMF cases at risk for progression to myelofibrosis.

Clin Epigenetics 2021 Feb 4;13(1):28. Epub 2021 Feb 4.

Institute of Pathology, Medical School Hannover, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Carl-Neuberg-Str. 1, 30625, Hannover, Germany.

Background: Patients suffering from the BCR-ABL1-negative myeloproliferative disease prefibrotic primary myelofibrosis (pre-PMF) have a certain risk for progression to myelofibrosis. Accurate risk estimation for this fibrotic progression is of prognostic importance and clinically relevant. Commonly applied risk scores are based on clinical, cytogenetic, and genetic data but do not include epigenetic modifications. Therefore, we evaluated the assessment of genome-wide DNA methylation patterns for their ability to predict fibrotic progression in PMF patients.

Results: For this purpose, the DNA methylation profile was analyzed genome-wide in a training set of 22 bone marrow trephines from patients with either fibrotic progression (n = 12) or stable disease over several years (n = 10) using the 850 k EPIC array from Illumina. The DNA methylation classifier constructed from this data set was validated in an independently measured test set of additional 11 bone marrow trephines (7 with stable disease, 4 with fibrotic progress). Hierarchical clustering of methylation β-values and linear discriminant classification yielded very good discrimination between both patient groups. By gene ontology analysis, the most differentially methylated CpG sites are primarily associated with genes involved in cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions.

Conclusions: In conclusion, we could show that genome-wide DNA methylation profiling of bone marrow trephines is feasible under routine diagnostic conditions and, more importantly, is able to predict fibrotic progression in pre-fibrotic primary myelofibrosis with high accuracy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13148-021-01010-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7860011PMC
February 2021

3D culture conditions support Kaposi's sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV) maintenance and viral spread in endothelial cells.

J Mol Med (Berl) 2021 Mar 23;99(3):425-438. Epub 2021 Jan 23.

Model Systems for Infection and Immunity, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany.

Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is a human tumorigenic virus and the etiological agent of an endothelial tumor (Kaposi's sarcoma) and two B cell proliferative diseases (primary effusion lymphoma and multicentric Castleman's disease). While in patients with late stage of Kaposi's sarcoma the majority of spindle cells are KSHV-infected, viral copies are rapidly lost in vitro, both upon culture of tumor-derived cells or from newly infected endothelial cells. We addressed this discrepancy by investigating a KSHV-infected endothelial cell line in various culture conditions and in tumors of xenografted mice. We show that, in contrast to two-dimensional endothelial cell cultures, KSHV genomes are maintained under 3D cell culture conditions and in vivo. Additionally, an increased rate of newly infected cells was detected in 3D cell culture. Furthermore, we show that the PI3K/Akt/mTOR and ATM/γH2AX pathways are modulated and support an improved KSHV persistence in 3D cell culture. These mechanisms may contribute to the persistence of KSHV in tumor tissue in vivo and provide a novel target for KS specific therapeutic interventions. KEY MESSAGES: In vivo maintenance of episomal KSHV can be mimicked in 3D spheroid cultures 3D maintenance of KSHV is associated with an increased de novo infection frequency PI3K/Akt/mTOR and ATM/ γH2AX pathways contribute to viral maintenance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00109-020-02020-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7900040PMC
March 2021

Combination of myeloproliferative neoplasm driver gene activation with mutations of splice factor or epigenetic modifier genes increases risk of rapid blastic progression.

Eur J Haematol 2021 Apr 1;106(4):520-528. Epub 2021 Feb 1.

Institut für Pathologie, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Hannover, Germany.

Objectives: Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) comprising polycythemia vera (PV), essential thrombocythemia (ET) and primary myelofibrosis (PMF) follow a bi-phasic course of disease with fibrotic and/or blastic progression. At presentation in the chronic phase, currently there are only insufficient tools to predict the risk of progression in individual cases.

Methods: In this study, chronic phase MPN (16 PMF, 11 PV, and 11 MPN unclassified) with blastic transformation during course of disease (n = 38, median follow-up 5.3 years) were analyzed by high-throughput sequencing. MPN cases with a comparable follow-up period and without evidence of blast increase served as control (n = 63, median follow-up 5.8 years).

Results: Frequent ARCH/CHIP-associated mutations (TET2, ASXL1, DNMT3A) found at presentation were not significantly associated with blastic transformation. By contrast, mutations of SRSF2, U2AF1, and IDH1/2 at first presentation were frequently observed in the progression cohort (13/38, 34.2%) and were completely missing in the control group without blast transformation during follow-up (P = .0007 for SRSF2; P = .0063 for U2AF1 and IDH1/2).

Conclusion: Unlike frequent ARCH/CHIP alterations (TET2, ASXL1, DNMT3A), mutations in SRSF2, IDH1/2, and U2AF1 when manifest already at first presentation provide an independent risk factor for rapid blast transformation of MPN.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ejh.13579DOI Listing
April 2021

Heterogeneous bone-marrow stromal progenitors drive myelofibrosis via a druggable alarmin axis.

Cell Stem Cell 2021 Apr 9;28(4):637-652.e8. Epub 2020 Dec 9.

Department of Hematology, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam 3015GD, the Netherlands; Department of Cell Biology, Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Medicine, RWTH Aachen University, Pauwelsstrasse 30, 52074 Aachen, Germany; Oncode Institute, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam 3015GD, the Netherlands. Electronic address:

Functional contributions of individual cellular components of the bone-marrow microenvironment to myelofibrosis (MF) in patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) are incompletely understood. We aimed to generate a comprehensive map of the stroma in MPNs/MFs on a single-cell level in murine models and patient samples. Our analysis revealed two distinct mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC) subsets as pro-fibrotic cells. MSCs were functionally reprogrammed in a stage-dependent manner with loss of their progenitor status and initiation of differentiation in the pre-fibrotic and acquisition of a pro-fibrotic and inflammatory phenotype in the fibrotic stage. The expression of the alarmin complex S100A8/S100A9 in MSC marked disease progression toward the fibrotic phase in murine models and in patient stroma and plasma. Tasquinimod, a small-molecule inhibiting S100A8/S100A9 signaling, significantly ameliorated the MPN phenotype and fibrosis in JAK2V617F-mutated murine models, highlighting that S100A8/S100A9 is an attractive therapeutic target in MPNs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.stem.2020.11.004DOI Listing
April 2021

Increased CXCL4 expression in hematopoietic cells links inflammation and progression of bone marrow fibrosis in MPN.

Blood 2020 10;136(18):2051-2064

Department of Hematology, Erasmus Medical Center Cancer Institute, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Primary myelofibrosis (PMF) is a myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) that leads to progressive bone marrow (BM) fibrosis. Although the cellular mutations involved in the pathogenesis of PMF have been extensively investigated, the sequential events that drive stromal activation and fibrosis by hematopoietic-stromal cross-talk remain elusive. Using an unbiased approach and validation in patients with MPN, we determined that the differential spatial expression of the chemokine CXCL4/platelet factor-4 marks the progression of fibrosis. We show that the absence of hematopoietic CXCL4 ameliorates the MPN phenotype, reduces stromal cell activation and BM fibrosis, and decreases the activation of profibrotic pathways in megakaryocytes, inflammation in fibrosis-driving cells, and JAK/STAT activation in both megakaryocytes and stromal cells in 3 murine PMF models. Our data indicate that higher CXCL4 expression in MPN has profibrotic effects and is a mediator of the characteristic inflammation. Therefore, targeting CXCL4 might be a promising strategy to reduce inflammation in PMF.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2019004095DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7678060PMC
October 2020

Exposure of Patient-Derived Mesenchymal Stromal Cells to TGFB1 Supports Fibrosis Induction in a Pediatric Acute Megakaryoblastic Leukemia Model.

Mol Cancer Res 2020 10 8;18(10):1603-1612. Epub 2020 Jul 8.

Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, University Children's Hospital Essen, Essen, Germany.

Bone marrow fibrosis (BMF) is a rare complication in acute leukemia. In pediatrics, it predominantly occurs in acute megakaryoblastic leukemia (AMKL) and especially in patients with trisomy 21, called myeloid leukemia in Down syndrome (ML-DS). Defects in mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) and cytokines specifically released by the myeloid blasts are thought to be the main drivers of fibrosis in the bone marrow niche (BMN). To model the BMN of pediatric patients with AMKL in mice, we first established MSCs from pediatric patients with AMKL ( = 5) and ML-DS ( = 9). Healthy donor control MSCs ( = 6) were generated from unaffected children and adolescents ≤18 years of age. Steady-state analyses of the MSCs revealed that patient-derived MSCs exhibited decreased adipogenic differentiation potential and enrichment of proliferation-associated genes. Importantly, TGFB1 exposure promoted early profibrotic changes in all three MSC entities. To study BMF induction for longer periods of time, we created an humanized artificial BMN subcutaneously in immunodeficient NOD.Cg-Prkdc Il2rg/SzJ mice, using a mixture of MSCs, human umbilical vein endothelial cell, and Matrigel. Injection of AMKL blasts as producers of TGFB1 into this BMN after 8 weeks induced fibrosis grade I/II in a dose-dependent fashion over a time period of 4 weeks. Thus, our study developed a humanized mouse model that will be instrumental to specifically examine leukemogenesis and therapeutic targets for AMKL blasts in future. IMPLICATIONS: TGFB1 supports fibrosis induction in a pediatric AMKL model generated with patient-derived MSCs. VISUAL OVERVIEW: http://mcr.aacrjournals.org/content/molcanres/18/10/1603/F1.large.jpg.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-20-0091DOI Listing
October 2020

Feasibility of Combined Detection of Gene Mutations and Fusion Transcripts in Bone Marrow Trephines from Leukemic Neoplasms.

J Mol Diagn 2020 04 7;22(4):591-598. Epub 2020 Feb 7.

Institute of Pathology, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Hannover, Germany.

Chromosomal translocations resulting in fusion genes represent important oncogenic drivers and potential therapeutic targets in rare leukemia subtypes. Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded trephines are frequently used in hematologic diagnostic tests and provide relevant access to leukemic cells for further studies, for example, phenotyping in bone marrow fibrosis. However, high-throughput molecular analysis of nucleic acids obtained from this material is challenging, especially the reliable detection of RNA transcripts. Sixty-three formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded bone marrow trephines of patients with chronic eosinophilic leukemia, chronic myeloid leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, and myeloproliferative neoplasms were analyzed for gene mutations and the presence of fusion transcripts with a commercial amplicon-based next-generation sequencing approach. Fusion transcripts relevant for diagnosis and therapy could be detected and validated (by RT-PCR) in 25 patients (39.7%). Retrospectively selected material, up to 10 years old, was used for this purpose, and only one sample failed in the RNA analysis (1.6%). This study concludes that amplicon-based fusion transcript detection in bone marrow trephines is feasible and that bone marrow trephines taken for histologic assessment can also be applied for high-throughput molecular analysis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmoldx.2020.01.004DOI Listing
April 2020

Mutations associated with age-related clonal hematopoiesis in PMF patients with rapid progression to myelofibrosis.

Leukemia 2020 05 27;34(5):1364-1372. Epub 2019 Nov 27.

Institute of Pathology, Hannover Medical School, Carl-Neuberg Str. 1, 30623, Hannover, Germany.

Besides histopathological findings there are no indicators of increased risk for fibrotic progression in myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN). Age-related clonal hematopoiesis (ARCH/CHIP) is a frequent finding in the elderly and combinations with MPN driver mutations (JAK2, MPL, and CALR) have been described. To determine the impact of ARCH/CHIP-related mutations for development of fibrosis in primary myelofibrosis (PMF), the mutational status of cases with fibrotic progression from grade 0 to grade 2/3 (n = 77) as evidenced by follow-up bone marrow biopsies (median 6.2 years) was compared with prefibrotic PMF samples without development of fibrosis (n = 27; median follow-up 7.3 years). Frequent ARCH/CHIP-associated mutations (TET2, ASXL1, and DNMT3A) demonstrable at presentation were not connected with fibrotic progression. However, mutations which are rarely found in ARCH/CHIP (SRSF2, U2AF1, SF3B1, IDH1/2, and EZH2) were present in 24.7% of cases with later development of fibrosis and not detectable in cases staying free from fibrosis (P = 0.0028). Determination of the tumor mutational burden (TMB) in a subgroup of cases (n = 32) did not show significant differences (7.68 mutations/MB vs. 6.85 mutations/MB). We conclude that mutations rarely found in ARCH/CHIP provide an independent risk factor for rapid fibrotic progression (median 2.0 years) when manifest already at first presentation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41375-019-0668-5DOI Listing
May 2020

Comprehensive mutation profiling and mRNA expression analysis in atypical chronic myeloid leukemia in comparison with chronic myelomonocytic leukemia.

Cancer Med 2019 02 11;8(2):742-750. Epub 2019 Jan 11.

Institute of Pathology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.

Atypical chronic myeloid leukemia (aCML) and chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) represent two histologically and clinically overlapping myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative neoplasms. Also the mutational landscapes of both entities show congruencies. We analyzed and compared an aCML cohort (n = 26) and a CMML cohort (n = 59) by next-generation sequencing of 25 genes and by an nCounter approach for differential expression in 107 genes. Significant differences were found with regard to the mutation frequency of TET2, SETBP1, and CSF3R. Blast content of the bone marrow revealed an inverse correlation with the mutation status of SETBP1 in aCML and TET2 in CMML, respectively. By linear discriminant analysis, a mutation-based machine learning algorithm was generated which placed 19/26 aCML cases (73%) and 54/59 (92%) CMML cases into the correct category. After multiple correction, differential mRNA expression could be detected between both cohorts in a subset of genes (FLT3, CSF3R, and SETBP1 showed the strongest correlation). However, due to high variances in the mRNA expression, the potential utility for the clinic is limited. We conclude that a medium-sized NGS panel provides a valuable assistance for the correct classification of aCML and CMML.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cam4.1946DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6382710PMC
February 2019

An endothelial cell line infected by Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpes virus (KSHV) allows the investigation of Kaposi's sarcoma and the validation of novel viral inhibitors in vitro and in vivo.

J Mol Med (Berl) 2019 03 4;97(3):311-324. Epub 2019 Jan 4.

Model Systems for Infection and Immunity, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124, Braunschweig, Germany.

Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is the etiological agent of Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), a tumor of endothelial origin predominantly affecting immunosuppressed individuals. Up to date, vaccines and targeted therapies are not available. Screening and identification of anti-viral compounds are compromised by the lack of scalable cell culture systems reflecting properties of virus-transformed cells in patients. Further, the strict specificity of the virus for humans limits the development of in vivo models. In this study, we exploited a conditionally immortalized human endothelial cell line for establishment of in vitro 2D and 3D KSHV latency models and the generation of KS-like xenograft tumors in mice. Importantly, the invasive properties and tumor formation could be completely reverted by purging KSHV from the cells, confirming that tumor formation is dependent on the continued presence of KSHV, rather than being a consequence of irreversible transformation of the infected cells. Upon testing a library of 260 natural metabolites, we selected the compounds that induced viral loss or reduced the invasiveness of infected cells in 2D and 3D endothelial cell culture systems. The efficacy of selected compounds against KSHV-induced tumor formation was verified in the xenograft model. Together, this study shows that the combined use of anti-viral and anti-tumor assays based on the same cell line is predictive for tumor reduction in vivo and therefore allows faithful selection of novel drug candidates against Kaposi's sarcoma. KEY MESSAGES: Novel 2D, 3D, and xenograft mouse models mimic the consequences of KSHV infection. KSHV-induced tumorigenesis can be reverted upon purging the cells from the virus. A 3D invasiveness assay is predictive for tumor reduction in vivo. Chondramid B, epothilone B, and pretubulysin D diminish KS-like lesions in vivo.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00109-018-01733-1DOI Listing
March 2019

Normal and pathological erythropoiesis in adults: from gene regulation to targeted treatment concepts.

Haematologica 2018 10 3;103(10):1593-1603. Epub 2018 Aug 3.

Imagine Institute, INSERM U 1163, CNRS 8654, Université Paris Descartes, Sorbonne, Paris Cité, France

Pathological erythropoiesis with consequent anemia is a leading cause of symptomatic morbidity in internal medicine. The etiologies of anemia are complex and include reactive as well as neoplastic conditions. Clonal expansion of erythroid cells in the bone marrow may result in peripheral erythrocytosis and polycythemia but can also result in anemia when clonal cells are dysplastic and have a maturation arrest that leads to apoptosis and hinders migration, a constellation typically seen in the myelodysplastic syndromes. Rarely, clonal expansion of immature erythroid blasts results in a clinical picture resembling erythroid leukemia. Although several mechanisms underlying normal and abnormal erythropoiesis and the pathogenesis of related disorders have been deciphered in recent years, little is known about specific markers and targets through which prognosis and therapy could be improved in anemic or polycythemic patients. In order to discuss new markers, targets and novel therapeutic approaches in erythroid disorders and the related pathologies, a workshop was organized in Vienna in April 2017. The outcomes of this workshop are summarized in this review, which includes a discussion of new diagnostic and prognostic markers, the updated WHO classification, and an overview of new drugs used to stimulate or to interfere with erythropoiesis in various neoplastic and reactive conditions. The use and usefulness of established and novel erythropoiesis-stimulating agents for various indications, including myelodysplastic syndromes and other neoplasms, are also discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2018.192518DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6165792PMC
October 2018

Flow cytometric characterization of acute leukemia reveals a distinctive "blast gate" of murine T-lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma.

Oncotarget 2018 Jan 18;9(2):2320-2328. Epub 2017 Dec 18.

Department of Hematology, Hemostasis, Oncology, and Stem Cell Transplantation, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.

Immunophenotypic analysis using multiparameter flow cytometry is an indispensable tool for diagnosis and management of acute leukemia. Mouse models have been widely used for medical research for more than 100 years and are indispensable for leukemia research. However, immunophenotypic analysis of murine leukemia was not always performed in published studies, and blast gating for isolation of blasts was shown only in very few studies. No systemic characterization of all types of murine acute leukemia in large cohorts by flow cytometry has been reported. In this study, we used flow cytometry to comprehensively characterize murine acute leukemia in a large cohort of mice. We found that murine T-lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma (T-ALL) exhibits a distinctive "blast gate" (CD45) with CD45/side scatter gating that differs from the "blast gate" (CD45) of human T-ALL. By contrast, murine B-lymphoblastic leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia show the same blast region (CD45) as human leukemia. Using blast cell gating, we for first time detected T-ALL development in FLT3-ITD knock-in mice (incidence: 23%). These leukemic cells were selectively killed by the FLT3 inhibitors crenolanib and midostaurin . These data suggest that FLT3-ITD plays a potential role in the pathogenesis of T-ALL and that FLT3-ITD inhibition is a therapeutic option in the management of patients with T-ALL. Our gating strategy for immunophenotypic analysis can be used for leukemogenesis and preclinical gene therapy studies in mice and may improve the quality of such analyses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.23410DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5788642PMC
January 2018

Activation of TRKA receptor elicits mastocytosis in mice and is involved in the development of resistance to KIT-targeted therapy.

Oncotarget 2017 Sep 19;8(43):73871-73883. Epub 2017 May 19.

Department of Hematology, Hemostasis, Oncology, and Stem Cell Transplantation, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.

The neurotrophins (NTs) play a key role in neuronal survival and maintenance. The TRK (tropomyosin-related kinase) tyrosine kinase receptors (TRKA, TRKB, TRKC) are high affinity receptors for NTs. There is increasing data demonstrating an important role of the TRK family in cancer initiation and progression. NTs have been known for many years to promote chemotaxis, maturation, and survival of mast cells. However, the role of NT signaling in the pathogenesis of mastocytosis is not well understood. In this study, we demonstrate that activation of TRKA by its ligand nerve growth factor (NGF) is potent to trigger a disease in mice with striking similarities to human systemic mastocytosis (SM). Moreover, activation of TRKA by NGF strongly rescues KIT inhibition-induced cell death of mast cell lines and primary mast cells from patients with SM, and this rescue effect can be efficiently blocked by entrectinib (a new pan TRK specific inhibitor). HMC-1 mast cell leukemia cells that are resistant to KIT inhibition induced by TRKA activation show reactivation of MAPK/ERK (extracellular signal-regulated kinase) and strong upregulation of early growth response 3 (EGR3), suggesting an important role of MAPK-EGR3 axis in the development of resistance to KIT inhibition. Targeting both TRK and KIT significantly prolongs survival of mice xenotransplanted with HMC-1 cells compared with targeting KIT alone. Thus, these data strongly suggest that TRKA signaling can improve neoplastic mast cell fitness. This might explain at least in part why treatment with KIT inhibitors alone so far has been disappointing in most published clinical trials for mastocytosis. Our data suggest that targeting both KIT and TRKs might improve efficacy of molecular therapy in SM with KIT mutations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.18027DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5650308PMC
September 2017

The Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) non-structural membrane protein K15 is required for viral lytic replication and may represent a therapeutic target.

PLoS Pathog 2017 Sep 22;13(9):e1006639. Epub 2017 Sep 22.

Institute of Virology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.

Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is the infectious cause of the highly vascularized tumor Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), which is characterized by proliferating spindle cells of endothelial origin, extensive neo-angiogenesis and inflammatory infiltrates. The KSHV K15 protein contributes to the angiogenic and invasive properties of KSHV-infected endothelial cells. Here, we asked whether K15 could also play a role in KSHV lytic replication. Deletion of the K15 gene from the viral genome or its depletion by siRNA lead to reduced virus reactivation, as evidenced by the decreased expression levels of KSHV lytic proteins RTA, K-bZIP, ORF 45 and K8.1 as well as reduced release of infectious virus. Similar results were found for a K1 deletion virus. Deleting either K15 or K1 from the viral genome also compromised the ability of KSHV to activate PLCγ1, Erk1/2 and Akt1. In infected primary lymphatic endothelial (LEC-rKSHV) cells, which have previously been shown to spontaneously display a viral lytic transcription pattern, transfection of siRNA against K15, but not K1, abolished viral lytic replication as well as KSHV-induced spindle cell formation. Using a newly generated monoclonal antibody to K15, we found an abundant K15 protein expression in KS tumor biopsies obtained from HIV positive patients, emphasizing the physiological relevance of our findings. Finally, we used a dominant negative inhibitor of the K15-PLCγ1 interaction to establish proof of principle that pharmacological intervention with K15-dependent pathways may represent a novel approach to block KSHV reactivation and thereby its pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1006639DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5627962PMC
September 2017

Gli1 Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Are a Key Driver of Bone Marrow Fibrosis and an Important Cellular Therapeutic Target.

Cell Stem Cell 2017 06 27;20(6):785-800.e8. Epub 2017 Apr 27.

Division of Nephrology and Clinical Immunology, RWTH Aachen University, 52074 Aachen, Germany. Electronic address:

Bone marrow fibrosis (BMF) develops in various hematological and non-hematological conditions and is a central pathological feature of myelofibrosis. Effective cell-targeted therapeutics are needed, but the cellular origin of BMF remains elusive. Here, we show using genetic fate tracing in two murine models of BMF that Gli1 mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are recruited from the endosteal and perivascular niche to become fibrosis-driving myofibroblasts in the bone marrow. Genetic ablation of Gli1 cells abolished BMF and rescued bone marrow failure. Pharmacological targeting of Gli proteins with GANT61 inhibited Gli1 cell expansion and myofibroblast differentiation and attenuated fibrosis severity. The same pathway is also active in human BMF, and Gli1 expression in BMF significantly correlates with the severity of the disease. In addition, GANT61 treatment reduced the myofibroblastic phenotype of human MSCs isolated from patients with BMF, suggesting that targeting of Gli proteins could be a relevant therapeutic strategy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.stem.2017.03.008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6485654PMC
June 2017

Peripheral blood cytogenetics allows treatment monitoring and early identification of treatment failure to lenalidomide in MDS patients: results of the LE-MON-5 trial.

Ann Hematol 2017 Jun 3;96(6):887-894. Epub 2017 Apr 3.

Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, University Medicine of Goettingen, Robert-Koch-Str. 40, 37075, Goettingen, Germany.

Transfusion-dependent patients with low- or intermediate-1-risk myelodysplastic syndrome, <5% bone marrow (BM) blasts and isolated 5q-deletion received lenalidomide within the German MDS study group phase-II clinical trial LE-MON-5 (EudraCT:2008-001866-10) of the University of Duesseldorf, Germany. Cytogenetic monitoring was performed by chromosome banding analyses (CBA) of BM cells and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analyses of peripheral blood (PB) mononuclear CD34+ cells using extended probe panels. Out of 144 patients screened for study enrollment, 24% failed to meet inclusion criteria due to cytogenetic findings. Eighty-seven patients were followed with a median observation time of 30 months. Cytogenetic response detected by FISH and CBA in 74 and 66% of patients, respectively, was predictive for hematologic response as well as of high prognostic relevance. After 2 years, AML rate was 8% for all patients. Karyotype evolution was detected in 21 (FISH)-34% (CBA) of patients associated with significantly shorter AML-free survival. Disease progression was first detectable on the cytogenetic level on average 5-6 months before recurrence of transfusion dependence. Our data show for the first time in a prospective setting that a cytogenetic monitoring from the PB helps to early identify treatment failure and progressive disease in lenalidomide-treated patients to improve clinical management.

Trial Registration: EudraCT:2008-001866-10.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00277-017-2983-0DOI Listing
June 2017

Prognostic factors in the myoepithelial-like spindle cell type of metaplastic breast cancer.

Virchows Arch 2016 Aug 25;469(2):191-201. Epub 2016 May 25.

Institute of Pathology, Hannover Medical School, Carl-Neuberg-Str. 1, 30625, Hannover, Germany.

Metaplastic breast carcinoma (MBC) comprises a heterogeneous group of tumors with difficult to predict biological behavior. A subset of MBC, characterized by spindle-shaped tumor cells with a myoepithelial-like immunophenotype, was entered into a retrospective study (n = 42, median follow-up time 43 months). Molecular parameters (DNA sequences of mutation hot spots in AKT1, ALK, APC, BRAF, CDH1, CTNNB1, EGFR, ERBB2, FBXW7, FGFR2, FOXL2, GNAQ, GNAS, KIT, KRAS, MAP2K1, MET, MSH6, NRAS, PDGFRA, PIK3CA, PTEN, SF3B1, SMAD4, SRC, SRSF2, STK11, TP53, and U2AF1; copy numbers for EGFR, c-myc, FGFR, PLAG, c-met) were assessed. None of the patients had axillary lymph node involvement. In 13 cases, local recurrence developed after surgery (30.9 %). Distant metastasis occurred in seven patients (17 %; four after local recurrence). The most frequent genetic alteration was PIK3CA mutation (50 % of cases). None of the pathological parameters (size, grade, stage, Ki-67 labeling index) was significantly associated with disease-free survival (DFS) or overall survival (OS). PIK3CA mutation, especially the H1047R type, tended to adversely affect OS. Type of resection (mastectomy vs. breast-conserving therapy, width of margins) or adjuvant radiotherapy had no influence on DFS or OS, whereas in the group treated with radio-/chemotherapy, no local recurrence or metastasis and no death occurred. We conclude that the spindle cell type of MBC with myoepithelial features exhibits a higher frequency of PIK3CA mutation than other types of metaplastic or basal-like breast cancer and may benefit from combined radio-/chemotherapy. Classical pathological parameters are not helpful in identifying the high-risk tumors among this subgroup of MBC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00428-016-1950-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4978764PMC
August 2016

Leukemogenic potency of the novel FLT3-N676K mutant.

Ann Hematol 2016 Apr 19;95(5):783-91. Epub 2016 Feb 19.

Department of Hematology, Hemostasis, Oncology, and Stem Cell Transplantation, Hannover Medical School, Carl-Neuberg-Straße 1, 30625, Hannover, Germany.

The novel FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3)-N676K point mutation within the FLT3 kinase domain-1 was recently identified in 6 % of de novo acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients with inv(16). Because FLT3-N676K was encountered almost exclusively in inv(16) AML, we investigated the transforming potential of FLT3-N676K, the cooperation between FLT3-N676K and core binding factor ß-smooth muscle myosin heavy chain (CBFß-SMMHC) (encoded by the inv(16) chimeric gene CBFB-MYH11) in inducing acute leukemia, and tested the sensitivity of FLT3-N676K-positive leukemic cells to FLT3 inhibitors. Retroviral expression of FLT3-N676K in myeloid 32D cells induced AML in syngeneic C3H/HeJ mice (n = 11/13, median latency 58 days), with a transforming activity similar to FLT3-internal tandem duplication (ITD) (n = 8/8), FLT3-TKD D835Y (n = 8/9), and FLT3-ITD-N676K (n = 9/9) mutations. Three out of 14 (21.4 %) C57BL/6J mice transplanted with FLT3-N676K-transduced primary hematopoietic progenitor cells developed acute leukemia (latency of 68, 77, and 273 days), while no hematological malignancy was observed in the control groups including FLT3-ITD. Moreover, co-expression of FLT3-N676K/CBFß-SMMHC did not promote acute leukemia in three independent experiments (n = 16). In comparison with FLT3-ITD, FLT3-N676K induced much higher activation of FLT3 and tended to trigger stronger phosphorylation of MAPK and AKT. Importantly, leukemic cells carrying the FLT3-N676K mutant in the absence of an ITD mutation were highly sensitive to FLT3 inhibitors AC220 and crenolanib, and crenolanib even retained activity against the AC220-resistant FLT3-ITD-N676K mutant. Taken together, the FLT3-N676K mutant is potent to transform murine hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells in vivo. This is the first report of acute leukemia induced by an activating FLT3 mutation in C57BL/6J mice. Moreover, further experiments investigating molecular mechanisms for leukemogenesis induced by FLT3-N676K mutation and clinical evaluation of FLT3 inhibitors in FLT3-N676K-positive AML seem warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00277-016-2616-zDOI Listing
April 2016

Rps14 haploinsufficiency causes a block in erythroid differentiation mediated by S100A8 and S100A9.

Nat Med 2016 Mar 15;22(3):288-97. Epub 2016 Feb 15.

Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Impaired erythropoiesis in the deletion 5q (del(5q)) subtype of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) has been linked to heterozygous deletion of RPS14, which encodes the ribosomal protein small subunit 14. We generated mice with conditional inactivation of Rps14 and demonstrated an erythroid differentiation defect that is dependent on the tumor suppressor protein p53 (encoded by Trp53 in mice) and is characterized by apoptosis at the transition from polychromatic to orthochromatic erythroblasts. This defect resulted in age-dependent progressive anemia, megakaryocyte dysplasia and loss of hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) quiescence. As assessed by quantitative proteomics, mutant erythroblasts expressed higher levels of proteins involved in innate immune signaling, notably the heterodimeric S100 calcium-binding proteins S100a8 and S100a9. S100a8--whose expression was increased in mutant erythroblasts, monocytes and macrophages--is functionally involved in the erythroid defect caused by the Rps14 deletion, as addition of recombinant S100a8 was sufficient to induce a differentiation defect in wild-type erythroid cells, and genetic inactivation of S100a8 expression rescued the erythroid differentiation defect of Rps14-haploinsufficient HSCs. Our data link Rps14 haploinsufficiency in del(5q) MDS to activation of the innate immune system and induction of S100A8-S100A9 expression, leading to a p53-dependent erythroid differentiation defect.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nm.4047DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4870050PMC
March 2016

Inhibition of Thrombopoietin/Mpl Signaling in Adult Hematopoiesis Identifies New Candidates for Hematopoietic Stem Cell Maintenance.

PLoS One 2015 6;10(7):e0131866. Epub 2015 Jul 6.

Research Group for Gene Modification in Stem Cells, LOEWE Center for Cell and Gene Therapy Frankfurt/Main and the Paul-Ehrlich-Institute, Langen, Germany; Institute of Experimental Hematology; Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.

Thrombopoietin (Thpo) signals via its receptor Mpl and regulates megakaryopoiesis, hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) maintenance and post-transplant expansion. Mpl expression is tightly controlled and deregulation of Thpo/Mpl-signaling is linked to hematological disorders. Here, we constructed an intracellular-truncated, signaling-deficient Mpl protein which is presented on the cell surface (dnMpl). The transplantation of bone marrow cells retrovirally transduced to express dnMpl into wildtype mice induced thrombocytopenia, and a progressive loss of HSC. The aplastic BM allowed the engraftment of a second BM transplant without further conditioning. Functional analysis of the truncated Mpl in vitro and in vivo demonstrated no internalization after Thpo binding and the inhibition of Thpo/Mpl-signaling in wildtype cells due to dominant-negative (dn) effects by receptor competition with wildtype Mpl for Thpo binding. Intracellular inhibition of Mpl could be excluded as the major mechanism by the use of a constitutive-dimerized dnMpl. To further elucidate the molecular changes induced by Thpo/Mpl-inhibition on the HSC-enriched cell population in the BM, we performed gene expression analysis of Lin-Sca1+cKit+ (LSK) cells isolated from mice transplanted with dnMpl transduced BM cells. The gene expression profile supported the exhaustion of HSC due to increased cell cycle progression and identified new and known downstream effectors of Thpo/Mpl-signaling in HSC (namely TIE2, ESAM1 and EPCR detected on the HSC-enriched LSK cell population). We further compared gene expression profiles in LSK cells of dnMpl mice with human CD34+ cells of aplastic anemia patients and identified similar deregulations of important stemness genes in both cell populations. In summary, we established a novel way of Thpo/Mpl inhibition in the adult mouse and performed in depth analysis of the phenotype including gene expression profiling.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0131866PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4493002PMC
April 2016

Diagnostic value of 18F-FDG-PET/CT for monitoring myelofibrosis after allogeneic stem cell transplantation.

Nucl Med Rev Cent East Eur 2015 ;18(1):35-6

Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, University Medical Center, Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.

Myelofibrosis is a rare hematopoietic stem cell neoplasm leading to marked bone marrow fibrosis and ineffective hematopoiesis. We report a case highlighting the potential role of ¹⁸F fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) for therapy monitoring. A 62-year-old man with myelofibrosis underwent FDG-PET/CT for evaluation of the extent of disease before and after allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT). PET after SCT demonstrated complete normalization of initially increased bone marrow tracer uptake, consistent with bone marrow biopsy showing complete remission. ¹⁸F-FDG-PET/CT may become a valuable diagnostic tool in myelofibrosis, enabling both sensitive initial staging and therapy monitoring.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5603/NMR.2015.0008DOI Listing
September 2015

Activation of TRKB receptor in murine hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells induced mastocytosis.

Blood 2014 Aug;124(7):1196-7

Institute of Experimental Hematology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2014-03-560466DOI Listing
August 2014

Dynamic of bone marrow fibrosis regression predicts survival after allogeneic stem cell transplantation for myelofibrosis.

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2014 Jun 1;20(6):812-5. Epub 2014 Mar 1.

Institute of Pathology, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.

We correlate regression of bone marrow fibrosis (BMF) on day 30 and 100 after dose- reduced allogeneic stem cell transplantation (allo-SCT) in 57 patients with primary or post-essential thrombocythemia/polycythemia vera myelofibrosis with graft function and survival. The distribution of International Prognostic Scoring System (IPSS) risk score categories was 1 patient with low risk, 5 patients with intermediate-1 risk, 18 patients with intermediate-2 risk, and 33 patients with high risk. Before allo-SCT, 41 patients (72%) were classified as XXX [myclofibrosis (MF)]-3 and 16 (28%) were classified as MF-2 according to the World Health Organization criteria. At postengraftment day +30 (±10 days), 21% of the patients had near-complete or complete regression of BMF (MF-0/-1), and on day +100 (±20 days), 54% were MF-0/-1. The 5-year overall survival rate at day +100 was 96% in patients with MF-0/-1 and 57% for those with MF-2/-3 (P = .04). There was no difference in BMF regression at day +100 between IPSS high-risk and low/intermediate-risk patients. Complete donor cell chimerism at day +100 was seen in 81% of patients with MF-0/-1 and in 31% of those with MF-2/-3. Patients with MF-2/-3 at day +100 were more likely to be transfusion-dependent for either RBCs (P = .014) or platelets (P = .018). Rapid BMF regression after reduced-intensity conditioning allo-SCT resulted in a favorable survival independent of IPSS risk score at transplantation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2014.02.019DOI Listing
June 2014

The inflammatory kinase MAP4K4 promotes reactivation of Kaposi's sarcoma herpesvirus and enhances the invasiveness of infected endothelial cells.

PLoS Pathog 2013 7;9(11):e1003737. Epub 2013 Nov 7.

Institute of Virology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.

Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is a mesenchymal tumour, which is caused by Kaposi's sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV) and develops under inflammatory conditions. KSHV-infected endothelial spindle cells, the neoplastic cells in KS, show increased invasiveness, attributed to the elevated expression of metalloproteinases (MMPs) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). The majority of these spindle cells harbour latent KSHV genomes, while a minority undergoes lytic reactivation with subsequent production of new virions and viral or cellular chemo- and cytokines, which may promote tumour invasion and dissemination. In order to better understand KSHV pathogenesis, we investigated cellular mechanisms underlying the lytic reactivation of KSHV. Using a combination of small molecule library screening and siRNA silencing we found a STE20 kinase family member, MAP4K4, to be involved in KSHV reactivation from latency and to contribute to the invasive phenotype of KSHV-infected endothelial cells by regulating COX-2, MMP-7, and MMP-13 expression. This kinase is also highly expressed in KS spindle cells in vivo. These findings suggest that MAP4K4, a known mediator of inflammation, is involved in KS aetiology by regulating KSHV lytic reactivation, expression of MMPs and COX-2, and, thereby modulating invasiveness of KSHV-infected endothelial cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1003737DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3820715PMC
June 2014

Histone methyltransferase Suv39h1 deficiency prevents Myc-induced chromosomal instability in murine myeloid leukemias.

Genes Chromosomes Cancer 2013 Apr 23;52(4):423-30. Epub 2013 Jan 23.

Institute of Cell and Molecular Pathology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.

Suv39h1 mediates heterochromatin formation in pericentric and telomeric regions by trimethylation of lysine 9 of histone 3 (H3K9me3). Yet, its role in the induction of chromosomal instability is poorly understood. We established a leukemia model by retrovirally expressing Myc in wild-type and histone methyltransferase Suv39h1-deficient hematopoietic cells and characterized the resulting leukemias for chromosomal instability. All mice that received cells overexpressing Myc developed myeloid leukemia with a median survival of 44 days posttransplantation. Myc-overexpressing wild-type leukemias demonstrated clones with numerical chromosomal aberrations (5/16). In secondary transplantations of these leukemic cells, structural changes, mostly end-to-end fusions of chromosomes, appeared (10/12). In contrast, leukemic cells overexpressing Myc with reduced or no Suv39h1 expression had a normal karyotype in primary, secondary, and tertiary transplantations (16/16). Myc-transduced Suv39h1-deficient cells showed less critically short telomeres (P < 0.05) compared with Myc-transduced wild-type bone marrow cells. Gene expression analysis showed upregulation of genes involved in the alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) mechanism. Thus, we hypothesize that loss of Suv39h1 implies activation of the ALT mechanism, in turn ensuring telomere length and stability. Our data show for the first time that Suv39h1 deficiency may prevent chromosomal instability by more efficient telomere stabilization in hematopoietic bone marrow cells overexpressing Myc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/gcc.22040DOI Listing
April 2013

Cytological characterization of murine bone marrow and spleen hematopoietic compartments for improved assessment of toxicity in preclinical gene marking models.

Ann Hematol 2013 May 10;92(5):595-604. Epub 2013 Jan 10.

Institute of Experimental Hematology, Hannover Medical School, Carl-Neuberg-Straße 1, Hannover, Germany.

Gene therapy has proven its potential to cure diseases of the hematopoietic system, but potential adverse reactions related to insertional mutagenesis by integrating gene vectors and chromosomal instability in long-lived repopulating cells have emerged as a major limitation. Preclinical gene therapy in murine models is a powerful model for assessment of gene marking efficiency and adverse reactions. However, changes in the hematologic composition after transplantation with retrovirally modified hematopoietic stem cells have not been well investigated in large cohorts of animals by systematic cytological analyses. In the present study, cytological analyses of bone marrow and spleen were performed in a large cohort (n = 58) of C57BL/6J mice over an extended observation period after gene marking. Interestingly, we observed hematological malignancies in four out of 30 animals transplanted with dLNGFR (truncated form of the human p75 low-affinity nerve growth factor receptor) and tCD34 modified stem/progenitor cells. Our data demonstrate that cytological analysis provides important information for diagnosis of hematological disorders and thus should be included in preclinical studies and performed in each investigated animal. Together with histological analysis, flow cytometric analysis, and other analyses, the quality and predictive value of preclinical gene therapy studies will be improved.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00277-012-1655-3DOI Listing
May 2013

Morphology and quantitative composition of hematopoietic cells in murine bone marrow and spleen of healthy subjects.

Ann Hematol 2013 May 10;92(5):587-94. Epub 2013 Jan 10.

Institute of Experimental Hematology, Hannover Medical School, Carl-Neuberg-Straße 1, Hannover, Germany.

Laboratory mice play an outstanding role in modeling human development and disease. In contrast to human leukemia, the spleen is involved in almost all cases, and the bone marrow is only variably involved in murine models. Although mice have been used for medical research for over 100 years, there are only few reports with a small number of cases looking at morphology and quantitative composition of murine hematopoietic cells in the bone marrow of non-transplanted animals of most strains. To our knowledge, there is not even a single report describing the splenogram in C57BL/6J mice, one of the most commonly used strains for medical research. The present study illustrates the morphology of the hematopoietic cells in the bone marrow and spleen of non-treated C57BL/6J mice and establishes the murine myelogram from the largest healthy C57BL/6J cohort reported to date. Furthermore, we present the first murine splenogram described for C57BL/6J mice. Our study supports the acceptance of the presence of >5 % blast cells as providing clear evidence of abnormality in bone marrow like in humans. In addition, we are the first to show <1 % blast cells in the normal spleen. Interestingly, classical dysplastic changes were rare in normal healthy mice. Our study of the bone marrow and spleen of healthy non-transplanted animals provides reference ranges of each cell type and for the myeloid/erythroid ratio, which can be used to interpret preclinical gene therapy data, leukemogenesis, and hematopoiesis studies, and may improve the quality of such analyses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00277-012-1653-5DOI Listing
May 2013

Myelofibrosis: molecular and cell biological aspects.

Fibrogenesis Tissue Repair 2012 6;5(Suppl 1):S21. Epub 2012 Jun 6.

Institute of Pathology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.

A subset of myeloproliferative disorders (MPN) and myelodyplastic syndromes (MDS) evolves to fibrosis of the bone marrow associated with haematopoietic insufficiency. We have been interested in chemokines involved in fibrogenesis within the bone marrow. Besides TGFβ we could identify a number of additional mediators including osteoprotegerin and bone morphogenic proteins. In MPN JAK2 or MPL mutation are not linked to the propensity for bone marrow fibrosis. The hypothesis that an increased intramedullary decay of megakaryocytes undergoing appotosis takes place within the marrow, thus liberating fibrogenic cytokines, could not be confirmed. On the contrary, megakaryocytes in primary fibrosis revealed low expression of proapoptotic genes such as BNIP3. Interestingly, BNIP 3 expression was down regulated in megakaryocytic cell lines kept in hypoxic conditions. Furthermore, expression arrays revealed hypoxia inducible genes to be up-regulated in primary myelofibrosis. Fibrotic MPN are characterized by aberrant proplatelet formation which represent cytoplasmic pseudopodia and normally extend into the sinus. In fibrotic MPN orientation of proplatelet growth appears to be disturbed, which could lead to an aberrant deposition of platelets in the marrow with consecutive liberation of fibrogenic cytokines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1755-1536-5-S1-S21DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3368793PMC
May 2015