Glucocorticoid sensitivity is an important prognostic factor in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). For its antileukemic effect, glucocorticoid binds the intracellular glucocorticoid receptor (GR) subsequently regulating transcription of downstream genes. We analyzed whether genetic variations within the GR gene are related to differences in the cellular response to glucocorticoids. METHODS: In leukemic samples of 57 children, the GR gene was screened for nucleotide variations using a PCR/single-strand conformational polymorphism sequencing strategy. Data were linked to in vivo and in vitro glucocorticoid resistance. RESULTS: No somatic mutations were detected in the GR gene coding region, but six polymorphisms (i.e., ER22/23EK, N363S, BclI, intron mutation 16 bp upstream of exon 5, H588H, and N766N) were identified. In 67% of ALL cases, at least one minor allele of these polymorphisms was detected. Although only borderline significant, the incidence for the N363S polymorphism minor allele was higher (12% versus 6%, P = 0.06) and for the ER22/23EK minor allele lower (4% versus 7.6%, P = 0.1) than in a healthy, comparable population. The different genotypes of the polymorphisms were not related to prednisone resistance. In conclusion, polymorphisms but not somatic mutations in the GR gene coding region occur in leukemic blasts of children with ALL. Our data suggest that these genetic variations are not a major contributor for differences in cellular response to glucocorticoids in childhood ALL. The higher incidence of the N363S minor allele and the lower incidence of the ER22/23EK minor allele in our ALL population as compared with a normal population warrants further research.
"However, GC resistance can be a clinical problem, often associated with resistance to other drugs and poor overall prognosis. Examination of clinical leukemia specimens has revealed that resistance in vivo is occasionally due to mutation within the GR gene or loss of GR, but too often it is found that though the GR is present and unmutated, the receptor is ineffectual in causing apoptosis [19-22]. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glucocorticoids (GCs) are often included in the therapy of lymphoid malignancies because they kill several types of malignant lymphoid cells. GCs activate the glucocorticoid receptor (GR), to regulate a complex genetic network, culminating in apoptosis. Normal lymphoblasts and many lymphoid malignancies are sensitive to GC-driven apoptosis. Resistance to GCs can be a significant clinical problem, however, and correlates with resistance to several other major chemotherapeutic agents.
We analyzed the effect of treatment with the cytosine analogue 5 aza-2' deoxycytidine (AZA) on GC resistance in two acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T or pre-T ALL) cell lines- CEM and Molt-4- and a (B-cell) myeloma cell line, RPMI 8226. Methods employed included tissue culture, flow cytometry, and assays for clonogenicity, cytosine extension, immunochemical identification of proteins, and gene transactivation. High throughput DNA sequencing was used to confirm DNA methylation status.
Treatment of these cells with AZA resulted in altered DNA methylation and restored GC-evoked apoptosis in all 3 cell lines. In CEM cells the altered epigenetic state resulted in site-specific phosphorylation of the GR, increased GR potency, and GC-driven induction of the GR from promoters that lie in CpG islands. In RPMI 8226 cells, expression of relevant coregulators of GR function was altered. Activation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), which is central to a feed-forward mechanism of site-specific GR phosphorylation and ultimately, apoptosis, occurred in all 3 cell lines. These data show that in certain malignant hematologic B- and T-cell types, epigenetically controlled GC resistance can be reversed by cell exposure to a compound that causes DNA demethylation. The results encourage studies of application to in vivo systems, looking towards eventual clinical applications.
Cancer Cell International 04/2014; 14(1):35. DOI:10.1186/1475-2867-14-35 · 2.77 Impact Factor
"In this sense, several, possible resistance mechanisms of leukemic cells to glucocorticoid administration have been proposed, like the presence of somatic mutations on the GR gene that may lead to aberrant regulation of the receptor through intracellular signaling. Besides, several polymorphisms, but not somatic mutations, have been found in normal and ALL populations, not linked to resistance or sensitivity induction though, either in vivo or in vitro[6,7]. Other GC resistance scenarios are emphasizing in defects in intracellular signaling pathways that involve interactions of GR with other sequence-specific transcription factors, such as AP-1 and Nuclear Factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It has been shown previously that glucocorticoids exert a dual mechanism of action, entailing cytotoxic, mitogenic as well as cell proliferative and anti-apoptotic responses, in a dose-dependent manner on CCRF-CEM cells at 72 h. Early gene expression response implies a dose-dependent dual mechanism of action of prednisolone too, something reflected on cell state upon 72 h of treatment.
In this work, a generic, computational microarray data analysis framework is proposed, in order to examine the hypothesis, whether CCRF-CEM cells exhibit an intrinsic or acquired mechanism of resistance and investigate the molecular imprint of this, upon prednisolone treatment. The experimental design enables the examination of both the dose (0 nM, 10 nM, 22 uM, 700 uM) effect of glucocorticoid exposure and the dynamics (early and late, namely 4 h, 72 h) of the molecular response of the cells at the transcriptomic layer.
In this work, we demonstrated that CCRF-CEM cells may attain a mixed mechanism of response to glucocorticoids, however, with a clear preference towards an intrinsic mechanism of resistance. Specifically, at 4 h, prednisolone appeared to down-regulate apoptotic genes. Also, low and high prednisolone concentrations up-regulates genes related to metabolism and signal-transduction in both time points, thus favoring cell proliferative actions. In addition, regulation of NF-κB-related genes implies an inherent mechanism of resistance through the established link of NF-κB inflammatory role and GC-induced resistance. The analysis framework applied here highlights prednisolone-activated regulatory mechanisms through identification of early responding sets of genes. On the other hand, study of the prolonged exposure to glucocorticoids (72 h exposure) highlights the effect of homeostatic feedback mechanisms of the treated cells.
Overall, it appears that CCRF-CEM cells in this study exhibit a diversified, combined pattern of intrinsic and acquired resistance to prednisolone, with a tendency towards inherent resistant characteristics, through activation of different molecular courses of action.
Journal of Clinical Bioinformatics 12/2011; 1(36). DOI:10.1186/2043-9113-1-36
"In childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia, researchers have reported conflicting results. In one study no association between BclI genotypes and glucocorticoid susceptibility in vivo and in vitro was observed . Another study showed an association between homozygosity for allele G of the BclI polymorphism and overall survival . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The glucocorticoid receptor gene (NR3C1) has been suggested as a candidate gene affecting juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) course and prognosis. The purpose of this study is to investigate the glucocorticoid receptor gene BclI polymorphism (rs41423247) in JIA patients, the gene's role in susceptibility to juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and its associations with JIA activity, course and bone mineralization.
One hundred twenty-two Caucasian children with JIA and 143 healthy ethnically matched controls were studied. We checked markers of clinical and laboratory activity: morning stiffness, Ritchie Articular Index (RAI), swollen joint count (SJC), tender joint count (TJC), physician's visual analog scale (VAS), hemoglobin level (Hb), leukocyte count (L), platelet count (Pl), Westergren erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP), albumin, DAS and DAS28. Bone mineralization was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) of lumbar spine L1-L4. Assessments of bone metabolism included osteocalcin, C-terminal telopeptide (CTT), parathyroid hormone (PTH), total and ionized calcium, inorganic phosphate and total alkaline phosphatase (TAP). BclI polymorphism was genotyped by polymerase chain reaction restriction fragment length polymorphism.
No association was observed between glucocorticoid receptor gene polymorphism and the presence or absence of JIA. In girls with JIA, the presence of the G allele was associated with an unfavorable arthritis course, a younger age of onset of arthritis (p = 0.0017), and higher inflammatory activity. The higher inflammatory activity was demonstrated by the following: increased time of morning stiffness (p = 0.02), VAS (p = 0.014), RAI (p = 0.048), DAS (p = 0.035), DAS28 (p = 0.05), Pl (p = 0.003), L (p = 0.046), CRP (p = 0.01). In addition, these patients had bone metabolism disturbances as follows: decreased BA (p = 0.0001), BMC (p = 0.00007), BMD (0.005) and Z score (p = 0.002); and higher levels of osteocalcin (p = 0.03), CTT (p = 0.036), TAP activity (p = 0.01) and ionized calcium (p = 0.017). In boys with JIA, no significant differences were observed related to the polymorphic alleles or genotypes.
We suggest that G allele and the GG genotype of the glucocorticoid receptor gene BclI polymorphism contribute to an unfavorable course and low bone mineral density in girls with JIA.
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