Journal of Clinical Investigation vol:94 issue:1 pages:384-91
Treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) with interferon-alpha frequently results in normalization of peripheral blood counts and, in up to 20% of patients, reestablishment of normal hematopoiesis. We hypothesize that interferon-alpha may restore normal adhesive interactions between CML progenitors and the bone marrow microenvironment and restore normal growth regulatory effects resulting from these progenitor-stroma interactions. We demonstrate that treatment with interferon-alpha induces a significant, dose-dependent increase in the adhesion of primitive long-term culture initiating cells and committed colony-forming cells (CFC) from CML bone marrow to normal stroma. Adhesion of CFC seen after interferon-alpha treatment could be inhibited by blocking antibodies directed at the alpha 4, alpha 5, and beta 1 integrins and vascular cell adhesion molecule, but not CD44 or intracellular adhesion molecule, suggesting that interferon-alpha induces normalization of progenitor-stroma interactions in CML. Because FACS analysis showed that the level of alpha 4, alpha 5, and beta 1 integrin expression after interferon-alpha treatment is unchanged, this suggests that interferon-alpha may restore normal beta 1 integrin function. Normalization of interactions between CML progenitors and the bone marrow microenvironment may then result in the restoration of normal regulation of CML progenitor proliferation, and explain, at least in part, the therapeutic efficacy of interferon-alpha in CML.