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Kuett, Alexander; Rieger, Christina; Perathoner, Deborah; Herold, Tobias; Wagner, Michaela; Sironi, Silvia; Sotlar, Karl; Horny, Hans-Peter; Deniffel, Christian; Drolle, Heidrun and Fiegl, Michael (2015): IL-8 as mediator in the microenvironment-leukaemia network in acute myeloid leukaemia. In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 5, 18411 [PDF, 1MB]

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The bone marrow microenvironment is physiologically hypoxic with areas being as low as 1% O-2, e.g. the stem cell niche. Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) blasts misuse these bone marrow niches for protection by the local microenvironment, but also might create their own microenvironment. Here we identify IL-8 as a hypoxia-regulated cytokine in both AML cell lines and primary AML samples that is induced within 48 hours of severe hypoxia (1% O2). IL-8 lacked effects on AML cells but induced migration in mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC),an integral part of the bone marrow. Accordingly, MSC were significantly increased in AML bone marrow as compared to healthy bone marrow. Interestingly, mononuclear cells obtained from healthy bone marrow displayed both significantly lower endogenous and hypoxia-induced production of IL-8. IL-8 mRNA expression in AML blasts from 533 patients differed between genetic subgroups with significantly lower expression of IL-8 in acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL),while in non APL-AML patients with FLT ITD had the highest IL-8 expression. In this subgroup, high IL-8 expression was also prognostically unfavourable. In conclusion, hypoxia as encountered in the bone marrow specifically increases IL-8 expression of AML, which in turn impacts niche formation. High IL-8 expression might be correlated with poor prognosis in certain AML subsets.

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