Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) has been shown to support the growth of multipotential hematopoietic stem cells in addition to the cells of neutrophilic lineage. Philadelphia chromosome (Ph1)-positive leukemia has its origin in the hematopoietic stem cell. In the present study, we demonstrated that the proliferation of leukemic cells from chronic myeloid leukemia in blast crisis (CML-BC) and Ph1-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cases is frequently stimulated with G-CSF in vitro. We next studied a total of 12 leukemic cell lines established from CML-BC (n = 6) and Ph1-positive acute leukemia (n = 6): four 'myeloid', five 'biphenotypic', and three 'lymphoid' types. All cell lines expressed G-CSF receptor (G-CSFR) in flow cytometric analysis, but their proliferative response to G-CSF in 3H-thymidine incorporation assay varied. The 'biphenotypic' cell lines expressed G-CSFR at higher levels and showed the most pronounced response to G-CSF. The 'lymphoid' cell lines showed intermediate G-CSFR expression with the modest response to G-CSF. Unexpectedly, 'myeloid' cell lines showed lower G-CSFR expression and lower G-CSF response compared with 'biphenotypic' cell lines. In three of four 'myeloid' cell lines, proliferation was partially inhibited by an addition of anti-G-CSF neutralizing monoclonal antibody into culture medium. Further, the % inhibition of 3H-thymidine uptake of cell lines positively correlated with the amount of their intracellular G-CSF measured by enzyme immunoassay, suggesting an autocrine growth mechanism via the G-CSF/G-CSFR interaction. These results suggest that G-CSF play an important role in the growth regulation of leukemia cells from Ph1-positive acute leukemia and CML-BC.
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