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Cytokine treatment of human bone marrow activates anti-leukaemia effector cells: monitoring of purging by polymerase chain reaction and DNA analysis

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Anne Dickinson, Professor Stephen Proctor


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The aims of this study were to investigate the role of cytokines (tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha), interferon gamma (IFN gamma) and interleukin-2 (IL-2) in augmenting graft-versus-leukaemia (GVL). We have investigated the effector cells involved in GVL, by studying the role of these cells in purging of the cell line K562 in short-term bone marrow cultures. The effect of the addition in vitro of rGCSF was also studied. Monitoring of purging was achieved by cytotoxicity assays, DNA analysis and the use of the polymerase chain reaction for the detection of bcr/abl transcripts in the Philadelphia positive (Ph+) K562 cell line. Supernatants from IL-2-treated and non-treated bone marrow were tested for cytokine production (TNF alpha and IFN gamma). The results have shown that the main cytotoxic effector cells in the bone marrow generated by IL-2 have the CD56+ CD8+ phenotype. Overnight incubation of bone marrow was sufficient to generate cytotoxic cells as measured by Chromium51 (Cr51) release assays. Measurable levels of TNF alpha but not IFN gamma were also detected in supernatants. Addition of TNF alpha and IFN gamma to the IL-2 in the bone marrow cultures augmented the cytotoxicity but tended to inhibit progenitor cell growth as measured by granulocyte-macrophage colony-forming unit (GM-CFU) and erythroid blast-forming unit (BFU-e) assays. An estimate of the purging of the marrow could also be achieved by DNA analysis of K562 DNA in bone marrow. The bcr/abl transcript could still be detected by PCR analysis in marrow containing 1% K562 and treated with IL-2 for 24 h, but by 6 days of incubation the bcr/abl transcript was weak or undectable. The results suggest that although reduction in the proportion of leukaemia in contaminated marrow can be detected after incubation with IL-2 for 24 h, complete elimination of minimal residual disease requires longer incubation times.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Dickinson AM, Middleton SL, Latham J, Dunn J, Thomas L, Proctor SJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Leukemia

Year: 1995

Volume: 9

Issue: 3

Pages: 444-449

Print publication date: 01/03/1995

ISSN (print): 0887-6924

ISSN (electronic): 1476-5551


PubMed id: 7533866

Notes: 0887-6924 Journal Article