A new human leukemia cell line with an eosinophilic phenotype, designated YJ, was established from the peripheral blood cells of a patient with chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMMoL) with eosinophilia. When cultured in RPMI 1640 medium containing 10% fetal bovine serum, most YJ cells were myeloblastoid with a small number of the cells having eosinophilic granules. Cell surface markers in the YJ cells were positive for CD33 and were negative for CD34, CD16 and CD23. The eosinophilic characteristics of YJ cells were confirmed by histochemical staining with Fast-Green/Neutral-Red and by the expression of mRNAs for eosinophil-associated granule proteins, eosinophil cationic protein (ECP), eosinophil-derived neurotoxin (EDN), eosinophil peroxidase (EPO), and major basic protein (MBP), and for the Charcot-Leyden crystal (CLC) protein. The YJ cells could be induced towards monocytic differentiation by stimulation with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA). The monocytic characteristics of YJ cells treated with PMA were confirmed by morphological analysis with α-naphthyl butyrate esterase staining, by CD14 expression, and by increased expression of Egr-1 mRNA. Furthermore, YJ cells could be differentiated towards the neutrophil lineage by stimulation with all-trans retinoic acid (RA). YJ cells treated in vitro with 2 μM RA differentiated into metamyelocytes and band neutrophils, and increased the number of nitroblue tetrazolium (NBT)-positive cells and increased gp91(phox) mRNA expression. Thus, the YJ cell line exhibited eosinophilic characteristics, but was able to differentiate to the monocytic or neutrophilic lineages in response to PMA or RA, respectively. The expression of genes for transcription factors involved in myeloid differentiation was evaluated by Northern blot analysis. Increased expression of Egr-1 was observed with macrophage differentiation. In contrast, increased expressions of C/EBPβ and MZF-1 mRNA occurred with neutrophilic differentiation. The YJ cell line should be useful for elucidating the molecular mechanisms governing lineage switching from the eosinophil to monocytic or neutrophil lineages.
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