Experts have taken a closer look at the role of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells in acute myeloid leukaemia.
These cells are often altered in haematological disorders, including acute lymphoid leukaemia, but it is not clear whether the alterations are a cause or effect of the condition, researchers say.
So Dr Laura Desbourdes of the University of Paris, France, and her team investigated the characteristics of these cells taken from patients at diagnosis.
They found that a reduced ability to proliferate, and increased levels of apoptosis compared with mesenchymal stem cells from a group of similar healthy people.
The extended time these cells took to double their numbers was not related to leukaemia characteristics at diagnosis, but it was related to patient age and poorer patient outcome, the team reported in Stem Cells and Development on 10 April.
Next the team analysed the expression of 93 genes and found that the expression of several genes is linked to the lower speed of proliferation among the patients' mesenchymal stem cells.
'Our findings indicate that bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells from patients with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukaemia display phenotypic and functional alterations such as proliferative deficiency that could be attributed to tumour progression, but does not seem to play a special role in the leukemic process,' they conclude.
Journal editor, Dr Graham Parker, adds: 'The investigation of the possible role of stromal cells in haematologic malignancy is replete with contradiction.
'This paper provides a clear description of the changes in stromal cells that are independent of the leukemic diagnosis.'
Source: Desbourdes, L. et al. Alteration Analysis of Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stromal Cells from De Novo Acute Myeloid Leukemia Patients at Diagnosis. Stem Cells and Development 10 April 2017; doi:10.1089/scd.2016.0295
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