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Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells Support Acute Myeloid Leukemia Bioenergetics and Enhance Antioxidant Defense and Escape from Chemotherapy.

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Forte, Dorian 
García-Fernández, María 
Sánchez-Aguilera, Abel 
Stavropoulou, Vaia 
Fielding, Claire 


Like normal hematopoietic stem cells, leukemic stem cells depend on their bone marrow (BM) microenvironment for survival, but the underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown. We have studied the contribution of nestin+ BM mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) to MLL-AF9-driven acute myeloid leukemia (AML) development and chemoresistance in vivo. Unlike bulk stroma, nestin+ BMSC numbers are not reduced in AML, but their function changes to support AML cells, at the expense of non-mutated hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Nestin+ cell depletion delays leukemogenesis in primary AML mice and selectively decreases AML, but not normal, cells in chimeric mice. Nestin+ BMSCs support survival and chemotherapy relapse of AML through increased oxidative phosphorylation, tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle activity, and glutathione (GSH)-mediated antioxidant defense. Therefore, AML cells co-opt energy sources and antioxidant defense mechanisms from BMSCs to survive chemotherapy.



OXPHOS, TCA cycle, acute myeloid leukemia, antioxidant, bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells, chemotherapy, glutathione, hematopoietic stem cell niche, metabolic adaptation, microenvironment, Animals, Antineoplastic Agents, Antioxidants, Bone Marrow, Cells, Cultured, Energy Metabolism, Female, Humans, Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute, Male, Mesenchymal Stem Cells, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Middle Aged

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Cell Metab

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Elsevier BV
European Research Council (648765)
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT)
Italian Association for Cancer Research (AIRC) (Fellowship Rif. 20930)
Cancer Research UK (C61367/A26670)
Medical Research Council (MC_UU_12022/6)
European Research Council (647685)
Wellcome Trust (203151/Z/16/Z)
Medical Research Council (MC_PC_12009)
Medical Research Council (MC_PC_17230)
MRC (MR/V005421/1)
D.F. was supported by Associazione Italiana Ricerca sul Cancro (AIRCFellowship 20930 for Abroad) and scholarships from Società Italiana di Ematologia (SIE) and Associazione "Amici di Beat Leukemia Dr. Alessandro Cevenini ONLUS" and AIL Bologna ODV. A.S.-A. was supported by a European Hematology Association Research Fellowship and C.L.F-C. by a fellowship from Boehringer Foundation. This work was supported by core support grants from the Wellcome Trust (203151/Z/16/Z) and the MRC to the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, and the Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII), Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades (MCNU) and Pro CNIC Foundation to CNIC, which is a Severo Ochoa Center of Excellence (SEV-2015-0505). This work was supported by MCNU (Plan Nacional grant SAF-2011-30308 to S.M.-F.; Ramón y Cajal Program grants RYC-2011-09726 to A.S.-A. and RYC-2009-04703 to S.M.-F.); Marie Curie Career Integration Program grants (FP7-PEOPLE-2011-RG-294262/294096) to A.S.-A. and S.M.-F.; Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities (BIO2015-67580-P and PGC2018- 097019-B-I00), Carlos III Institute of Health-Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria grant PRB3(IPT17/0019 - ISCIII-SGEFI / ERDF, ProteoRed), Fundació MaratóTV3 (grant 122/C/2015) and “la Caixa” Banking Foundation (project code HR17-00247) to J.V.; the Medical Research Council grant MRC_MC_UU_12022/6 to C.F; an ERC award (COMAL: 647685) and a CRUK Programme Award to B.J.H; the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF, 31003A_173224/1 & 31003A_173224/1) and the Gertrude von Meissner Foundation (Basel, Switzerland) to J.S.; ISCIII Spanish Cell Therapy Network TerCel, ConSEPOC-Comunidad de Madrid grant (S2010/BMD-2542), National Health Service Blood and Transplant (United Kingdom), European Union’s Horizon 2020 research (ERC- 2014-CoG-648765) and a Programme Foundation Award (C61367/A26670) from Cancer Research UK to S.M.-F., who was also supported in part by an International Early Career Scientist grant of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.