1969 - 1979
Eradicating leukemia requires a deep understanding of the interaction between leukemic cells and their protective microenvironment. The CXCL12/CXCR4 axis has been postulated as a critical pathway dictating leukemia stem cell (LSC) chemoresistance in AML due to its role in controlling cellular egress from the marrow. Nevertheless, the cellular source of CXCL12 in the acute myeloid leukemia (AML) microenvironment and the mechanism by which CXCL12 exerts its protective role in vivo remain unresolved. Here, we show that CXCL12 produced by Prx1+ mesenchymal cells but not by mature osteolineage cells provide the necessary cues for the maintenance of LSCs in the marrow of an MLL::AF9-induced AML model. Prx1+ cells promote survival of LSCs by modulating energy metabolism and the REDOX balance in LSCs. Deletion of Cxcl12 leads to the accumulation of reactive oxygen species and DNA damage in LSCs, impairing their ability to perpetuate leukemia in transplantation experiments, a defect that can be attenuated by antioxidant therapy. Importantly, our data suggest that this phenomenon appears to be conserved in human patients. Hence, we have identified Prx1+ mesenchymal cells as an integral part of the complex niche-AML metabolic intertwining, pointing towards CXCL12/CXCR4 as a target to eradicate parenchymal LSCs in AML.
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF RESPIRATORY CELL AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY
465 - 476
Fibroblast activation includes differentiation to myofibroblasts and is a key feature of organ fibrosis. The Notch pathway has been involved in myofibroblast differentiation in several tissues, including the lung. Here, we identify a subset of collagen-expressing cells in the lung that exhibit Notch3 activity at homeostasis. After injury, this activation increases, being found in alpha SMA-expressing myofibroblasts in the mouse and human fibrotic lung. Although previous studies suggest a contribution of Notch3 in stromal activation, in vivo evidence of the role of Notch3 in lung fibrosis remains unknown. In this study, we examine the effects of Notch3 deletion in pulmonary fibrosis and demonstrate that Notch3-deficient lungs are protected from lung injury with significantly reduced collagen deposition after bleomycin administration. The induction of profibrotic genes is reduced in bleomycin-treated Notch3-knockout lungs that consistently present fewer alpha SMA-positive myofibroblasts. As a result, the volume of healthy lung tissue is higher and lung function is improved in the absence of Notch3. Using in vitro cultures of lung primary fibroblasts, we confirmed that Notch3 participates in their survival and differentiation. Thus, Notch3 deficiency mitigates the development of lung fibrosis because of its role in mediating fibroblast activation. Our findings reveal a previously unidentified mechanism underlying lung fibrogenesis and provide a potential novel therapeutic approach to target pulmonary fibrosis.