IL-21 in the bone marrow microenvironment contributes to IgM secretion and proliferation of malignant cells in Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia

Lucy S. Hodge, Steve C. Ziesmer, Zhi Zhang Yang, Frank J. Secreto, Morie A. Gertz, Anne J. Novak, Stephen M. Ansell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cytokines within the tumor microenvironment play an important role in supporting the growth and survival of B-cell malignancies. One such cytokine, IL-21, promotes the growth of myeloma and Hodgkin lymphoma cells while inducing apoptosis in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. However, the biologic significance of IL-21 has not been examined in Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia (WM), a B-cell lymphoma characterized by elevated serum IgM and a lymphoplasmacytic bone marrow infiltrate. We report here on the presence of IL-21 in the bone marrow of patients with WM and have identified activated T cells as the source of this cytokine. We readily detected the IL-21 receptor on malignant WM B cells and show that IL-21 significantly increases both IgM secretion and cellular proliferation of these cells with no effect on viability. IL-21 rapidly induces phosphorylation of STAT3 in WM cells, and treatment of the WM cell line MWCL-1 with a STAT3 inhibitor abolished the IL-21-mediated increases in cellular proliferation and IgM secretion. IL-21 also increased the expression of known STAT3 targets involved in B-cell differentiation, including BLIMP-1, XBP-1, IL-6, and IL-10. Overall, our data indicate that IL-21 in the bone marrow microenvironment significantly affects the biology of WM tumor cells through a STAT3-dependent mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3774-3782
Number of pages9
JournalBlood
Volume120
Issue number18
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology

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