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Cultured lymphocytes’ mitochondrial genome integrity is not altered by cladribine

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jim StewartORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Cladribine tablets are a treatment for multiple sclerosis with effects on lymphocytes, yet its mode of action has not been fully established. Here, we analyzed the effects of cladribine on mitochondrial DNA integrity in lymphocytes. We treated cultured human T-cell lines (CCRF-CEM and Jurkat) with varying concentrations of cladribine to mimic the slow cell depletion observed in treated patients. The CCRF-CEM was more susceptible to cladribine than Jurkat cells. In both cells, mitochondrial protein synthesis, mitochondrial DNA copy number, and mitochondrial cytochrome-c oxidase-I mRNA mutagenesis was not affected by cladribine, while caspase-3 cleavage was detected in Jurkat cells at 100 nM concentration. Cladribine treatment at concentrations up to 10 nM in CCRF-CEM and 100 nM in Jurkat cells did not induce significant increase in mitochondrial DNA mutations. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from eight multiple sclerosis patients and four controls were cultured with or without an effective dose of cladribine (5 nM). However, we did not find any differences in mitochondrial DNA somatic mutations in lymphocyte subpopulations (CD4+, CD8+, and CD19+) between treated versus nontreated cells. The overall mutation rate was similar in patients and controls. When different lymphocyte subpopulations were compared, greater mitochondrial DNA mutation levels were detected in CD8+ (P = 0.014) and CD4+ (P = 0.038) as compared to CD19+ cells, these differences were independent of cladribine treatment. We conclude that T cells have more detectable mitochondrial DNA mutations than B cells, and cladribine has no detectable mutagenic effect on lymphocyte mitochondrial genome nor does it impair mitochondrial function in human T-cell lines.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Järvinen J, Suomi F, Stewart JB, Guala D, Valori M, Jansson L, Nieminen J, McWilliams TG, Tienari PJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Clinical and Experimental Immunology

Year: 2023

Volume: 214

Issue: 3

Pages: 304-303

Print publication date: 01/12/2023

Online publication date: 20/10/2023

Acceptance date: 10/10/2023

Date deposited: 16/12/2023

ISSN (print): 0009-9104

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2249

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1093/cei/uxad112

PubMed id: 37860849


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