Targeting stem cell niche can protect hematopoietic stem cells from chemotherapy and G-CSF treatment

Sidan Li, Dehui Zou, Changhong Li, Hengxing Meng, Weiwei Sui, Sizhou Feng, Tao Cheng, Qiongli Zhai, Lugui Qiu
Stem Cell Research & Therapy 2015, 6: 175

INTRODUCTION: Hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) reside in a tightly controlled local microenvironment called bone marrow niche. The specialized microenvironment or niche not only provides a favorable habitat for HSPC maintenance and development but also governs stem cell function.

METHOD: We investigated the effect of cytotoxic drugs on bone marrow niche. To mimic the multiple rounds of chemotherapy followed by autologous hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) transplantation in a clinical setting, we further verified the hypothesis that targeting the niche might improve stem cell-based therapies in mouse models.

RESULTS: We found that multiple rounds of cytotoxic drug treatment significantly disrupted niche and serum osteocalcin level was significantly reduced after treatment in autologous HSPCs transplanted patients (P = 0.01). In mouse models, the number of CD45(-)Ter119(-)OPN(+) osteoblasts was significantly reduced after multiple rounds of chemotherapies and granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) treatment (P < 0.01). Parathyroid hormone (PTH) or receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand (RANKL) treatment significantly increased the number of HSCs mobilized into peripheral blood (PB) for stem cell harvesting and protected stem cells from repeated exposure to cytotoxic chemotherapy. Treatments with G-CSF and PTH significantly increased the preservation of the HSC pool (P < 0.05). Moreover, recipient mice transplanted with circulation HSPCs that were previously treated with PTH and RANKL showed robust myeloid and lymphatic cell engraftment compared to the mice transplanted with HSCs after chemotherapy or G-CSF treatment.

CONCLUSION: These data provide new evidence that the niche may be an important target for drug-based stem cell therapy.

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