Chronic lymphocytic leukemia of E mu-TCL1 transgenic mice undergoes rapid cell turnover that can be offset by extrinsic CD257 to accelerate disease progression
ABSTRACT Results of heavy-water labeling studies have challenged the notion that chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) represents an accumulation of noncycling B cells. We examined leukemia cell turnover in Emu-TCL1 transgenic (TCL1-Tg) mice, which develop a CLL-like disease at 8 to 12 months of age. We found that leukemia cells in these mice not only had higher proportions of proliferating cells but also apoptotic cells than did nonleukemic lymphocytes. We crossed TCL1-Tg with BAFF-Tg mice, which express high levels of CD257. TCL1 x BAFF-Tg mice developed CLL-like disease at a significantly younger age and had more rapid disease progression and shorter survival than TCL1-Tg mice. Leukemia cells of TCL1 x BAFF-Tg mice had similar proportions of proliferating cells, but fewer proportions of dying cells, than did the CLL cells of TCL1-Tg mice. Moreover, leukemia cells from either TCL1 x BAFF-Tg or TCL1-Tg mice produced more aggressive disease when transferred into BAFF-Tg mice than into wild-type (WT) mice. Neutralization of CD257 resulted in rapid reduction in circulating leukemia cells. These results indicate that the leukemia cells of TCL1-Tg mice undergo high levels of spontaneous apoptosis that is offset by relatively high rates of leukemia cell proliferation, which might allow for acquisition of mutations that contribute to disease evolution.
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