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Although most circulating iron in blood plasma is destined for erythropoiesis, the mechanisms by which erythropoietic demand modulates the iron supply ("erythroid regulators") remain largely unknown. Iron absorption, plasma iron concentrations, and tissue iron distribution are tightly controlled by the liver-produced hormone hepcidin. During the last decade, much progress has been made in elucidating hepcidin regulation by iron and inflammation. This review discusses the less understood mechanisms and mediators of hepcidin suppression in physiologically and pathologically stimulated erythropoiesis.

Erdheim-Chester disease (ECD) is a rare, non-Langerhans histiocytosis. Recent findings suggest that ECD is a clonal disorder, marked by recurrent BRAFV600E mutations in >50% of patients, in which chronic uncontrolled inflammation is an important mediator of disease pathogenesis. Although ~500 to 550 cases have been described in the literature to date, increased physician awareness has driven a dramatic increase in ECD diagnoses over the last decade. ECD frequently involves multiple organ systems and has historically lacked effective therapies. Given the protean clinical manifestations and the lack of a consensus-derived approach for the management of ECD, we provide here the first multidisciplinary consensus guidelines for the clinical management of ECD. These recommendations were outlined at the First International Medical Symposium for ECD, comprised of a comprehensive group of international academicians with expertise in the pathophysiology and therapy of ECD. Detailed recommendations on the initial clinical, laboratory, and radiographic assessment of ECD patients are presented in addition to treatment recommendations based on critical appraisal of the literature and clinical experience. These formalized consensus descriptions will hopefully facilitate ongoing and future research efforts in this disorder.

The RNA code found within a platelet and alterations of that code continue to shed light onto the mechanistic underpinnings of platelet function and dysfunction. It is now known that features of messenger RNA (mRNA) in platelets mirror those of nucleated cells. This review serves as a tour guide for readers interested in developing a greater understanding of platelet mRNA. The tour provides an in-depth and interactive examination of platelet mRNA, especially in the context of next-generation RNA sequencing. At the end of the expedition, the reader will have a better grasp of the topography of platelet mRNA and how it impacts platelet function in health and disease.

Bortezomib frequently produces severe treatment-related peripheral neuropathy (PN) in Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia (WM). Carfilzomib is a neuropathy-sparing proteasome inhibitor. We examined carfilzomib, rituximab, and dexamethasone (CaRD) in symptomatic WM patients naïve to bortezomib and rituximab. Protocol therapy consisted of intravenous carfilzomib, 20 mg/m2 (cycle 1) and 36 mg/m2 (cycles 2-6), with intravenous dexamethasone, 20 mg, on days 1, 2, 8, and 9, and rituximab, 375 mg/m2, on days 2 and 9 every 21 days. Maintenance therapy followed 8 weeks later with intravenous carfilzomib, 36 mg/m2, and intravenous dexamethasone, 20 mg, on days 1 and 2, and rituximab, 375 mg/m2, on day 2 every 8 weeks for 8 cycles. Overall response rate was 87.1% (1 complete response, 10 very good partial responses, 10 partial responses, and 6 minimal responses) and was not impacted by MYD88L265P or CXCR4WHIM mutation status. With a median follow-up of 15.4 months, 20 patients remain progression free. Grade ≥2 toxicities included asymptomatic hyperlipasemia (41.9%), reversible neutropenia (12.9%), and cardiomyopathy in 1 patient (3.2%) with multiple risk factors, and PN in 1 patient (3.2%) which was grade 2. Declines in serum IgA and IgG were common. CaRD offers a neuropathy-sparing approach for proteasome inhibitor-based therapy in WM. This trial is registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT01470196.

In chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients, a breakpoint cluster region–Abelson (BCR-ABL1) value >10% at 3 months of therapy is statistically associated with poorer outcome, yet many of these patients still achieve satisfactory outcomes. We investigated 528 first-line imatinib-treated patients to determine whether patients with the poorest outcome can be better discriminated at 3 months. All outcomes were significantly superior for the 410 patients with BCR-ABL1 ≤10% at 3 months (P < .001). However, the poorest outcomes among the 95 evaluable patients with BCR-ABL1 >10% at 3 months were identified by the rate of BCR-ABL1 decline from baseline, assessed by estimating the number of days over which BCR-ABL1 halved. Patients with BCR-ABL1 halving time <76 days (n = 74) had significantly superior outcomes compared with patients whose BCR-ABL1 values did not halve by 76 days (n = 21; 4-year overall survival, 95% vs 58%, P = .0002; progression-free survival, 92% vs 63%, P = .008; failure-free survival, 59% vs 6%, P < .0001; and major molecular response, 54% vs 5%, P = .008). By multivariate analysis, the halving time was an independent predictor of outcome in this poor risk group. Our study highlighted that the rate of BCR-ABL1 decline may be a critical prognostic discriminator of the patients with very poor outcome among those >10% at 3 months. The International Randomized IFN vs STI571 (IRIS) trial was registered at http://www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT00006343. The Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor Optimization and Selectivity (TOPS) trial was registered at http://www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT00124748. The Therapeutic Intensification in DE-novo Leukaemia (TIDEL) I trial was registered at http://www.ANZCTR.org.au as #ACTRN12607000614493. The TIDEL II trial was registered at http://www.ANZCTR.org.au as #ACTRN12607000325404.

We previously showed that immature CD166+ osteoblasts (OB) promote hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) function. Here, we demonstrate that CD166 is a functional HSC marker that identifies both murine and human long-term repopulating cells. Both murine LSKCD48CD166+CD150+ and LSKCD48CD166+CD150+CD9+ cells, as well as human LinCD34+CD38CD49f+CD166+ cells sustained significantly higher levels of chimerism in primary and secondary recipients than CD166 cells. CD166–/– knockout (KO) LSK cells engrafted poorly in wild-type (WT) recipients and KO bone marrow cells failed to radioprotect lethally irradiated WT recipients. CD166–/– hosts supported short-term, but not long-term WT HSC engraftment, confirming that loss of CD166 is detrimental to the competence of the hematopoietic niche. CD166–/– mice were significantly more sensitive to hematopoietic stress. Marrow-homed transplanted WT hematopoietic cells lodged closer to the recipient endosteum than CD166–/– cells, suggesting that HSC-OB homophilic CD166 interactions are critical for HSC engraftment. STAT3 has 3 binding sites on the CD166 promoter and STAT3 inhibition reduced CD166 expression, suggesting that both CD166 and STAT3 may be functionally coupled and involved in HSC competence. These studies illustrate the significance of CD166 in the identification and engraftment of HSC and in HSC-niche interactions, and suggest that CD166 expression can be modulated to enhance HSC function.

It has been suggested that mitochondrial dysfunction and DNA damage are involved in lymphomagenesis. Increased copy number of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) as a compensatory mechanism of mitochondrial dysfunction previously has been associated with B-cell lymphomas, in particular chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). However, current evidence is limited and based on a relatively small number of cases. Using a nested case-control study, we extended these findings with a focus on subtype-specific analyses. Relative mtDNA copy number was measured in the buffy coat of prospectively collected blood of 469 lymphoma cases and 469 matched controls. The association between mtDNA copy number and the risk of developing lymphoma and histologic subtypes was examined using logistic regression models. We found no overall association between mtDNA and risk of lymphoma. Subtype analyses revealed significant increased risks of CLL (n = 102) with increasing mtDNA copy number (odds ratio = 1.34, 1.44, and 1.80 for quartiles 2-4, respectively; P trend = .001). mtDNA copy number was not associated with follow-up time, suggesting that this observation is not strongly influenced by indolent disease status. This study substantially strengthens the evidence that mtDNA copy number is related to risk of CLL and supports the importance of mitochondrial dysfunction as a possible mechanistic pathway in CLL ontogenesis.

Cereblon (CRBN) mediates immunomodulatory drug (IMiD) action in multiple myeloma (MM). Using 2 different methodologies, we identified 244 CRBN binding proteins and established relevance to MM biology by changes in their abundance after exposure to lenalidomide. Proteins most reproducibly binding CRBN (>fourfold vs controls) included DDB1, CUL4A, IKZF1, KPNA2, LTF, PFKL, PRKAR2A, RANGAP1, and SHMT2. After lenalidomide treatment, the abundance of 46 CRBN binding proteins decreased. We focused attention on 2 of these—IKZF1 and IKZF3. IZKF expression is similar across all MM stages or subtypes; however, IKZF1 is substantially lower in 3 of 5 IMiD-resistant MM cell lines. The cell line (FR4) with the lowest IKZF1 levels also harbors a damaging mutation and a translocation that upregulates IRF4, an IKZF target. Clinical relevance of CRBN-binding proteins was demonstrated in 44 refractory MM patients treated with pomalidomide and dexamethasone therapy in whom low IKZF1 gene expression predicted lack of response (0/11 responses in the lowest expression quartile). CRBN, IKZF1, and KPNA2 levels also correlate with significant differences in overall survival. Our study identifies CRBN-binding proteins and demonstrates that in addition to CRBN, IKZF1, and KPNA2, expression can predict survival outcomes.

High-level leukemia cell expression of micro-RNA 155 (miR-155) is associated with more aggressive disease in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), including those cases with a low-level expression of -chain–associated protein of 70 kD. CLL with high-level miR-155 expressed lower levels of Src homology-2 domain-containing inositol 5-phosphatase 1 and were more responsive to B-cell receptor (BCR) ligation than CLL with low-level miR-155. Transfection with miR-155 enhanced responsiveness to BCR ligation, whereas transfection with a miR-155 inhibitor had the opposite effect. CLL in lymphoid tissue expressed higher levels of miR155HG than CLL in the blood of the same patient. Also, isolated CD5brightCXCR4dim cells, representing CLL that had been newly released from the microenvironment, expressed higher levels of miR-155 and were more responsive to BCR ligation than isolated CD5dimCXCR4bright cells of the same patient. Treatment of CLL or normal B cells with CD40-ligand or B-cell–activating factor upregulated miR-155 and enhanced sensitivity to BCR ligation, effects that could be blocked by inhibitors to miR-155. This study demonstrates that the sensitivity to BCR ligation can be enhanced by high-level expression of miR-155, which in turn can be induced by crosstalk within the tissue microenvironment, potentially contributing to its association with adverse clinical outcome in patients with CLL.

The interplay between bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) and multiple myeloma (MM) cells performs a crucial role in MM pathogenesis by secreting growth factors, cytokines, and extracellular vesicles. Exosomes are membranous vesicles 40 to 100 nm in diameter constitutively released by almost all cell types, and they mediate local cell-to-cell communication by transferring mRNAs, miRNAs, and proteins. Although BMSC-induced growth and drug resistance of MM cells has been studied, the role of BMSC-derived exosomes in this action remains unclear. Here we investigate the effect of BMSC-derived exosomes on the viability, proliferation, survival, migration, and drug resistance of MM cells, using the murine 5T33MM model and human MM samples. BMSCs and MM cells could mutually exchange exosomes carrying certain cytokines. Both naive and 5T33 BMSC-derived exosomes increased MM cell growth and induced drug resistance to bortezomib. BMSC-derived exosomes also influenced the activation of several survival relevant pathways, including c-Jun N-terminal kinase, p38, p53, and Akt. Exosomes obtained from normal donor and MM patient BMSCs also induced survival and drug resistance of human MM cells. Taken together, our results demonstrate the involvement of exosome-mediated communication in BMSC-induced proliferation, migration, survival, and drug resistance of MM cells.

Phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN)-inactivating mutations and/or deletions are an independent risk factor for relapse of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) patients treated on Dutch Childhood Oncology Group or German Cooperative Study Group for Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia protocols. Some monoallelic mutated or PTEN wild-type patients lack PTEN protein, implying that additional PTEN inactivation mechanisms exist. We show that PTEN is inactivated by small deletions affecting a few exons in 8% of pediatric T-ALL patients. These microdeletions were clonal in 3% and subclonal in 5% of patients. Conserved deletion breakpoints are flanked by cryptic recombination signal sequences (cRSSs) and frequently have non-template-derived nucleotides inserted in between breakpoints, pointing to an illegitimate RAG recombination-driven activity. Identified cRSSs drive RAG-dependent recombination in a reporter system as efficiently as bona fide RSSs that flank gene segments of the T-cell receptor locus. Remarkably, equivalent microdeletions were detected in thymocytes of healthy individuals. Microdeletions strongly associate with the TALLMO subtype characterized by TAL1 or LMO2 rearrangements. Primary and secondary xenotransplantation of TAL1-rearranged leukemia allowed development of leukemic subclones with newly acquired PTEN microdeletions. Ongoing RAG activity may therefore actively contribute to the acquisition of preleukemic hits, clonal diversification, and disease progression.

The transcription initiation factor I (TIF-IA) is an important regulator of the synthesis of ribosomal RNA (rRNA) through its facilitation of the recruitment of RNA polymerase I (Pol I) to the ribosomal DNA promoter. Activation of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (Akt) pathway, which occurs commonly in acute myelogenous leukemia, enhances rRNA synthesis through TIF-IA stabilization and phosphorylation. We have discovered that TIF-IA coexists with a splicing isoform, TIF-90, which is expressed preferentially in the nucleolus and at higher levels in proliferating and transformed hematopoietic cells. TIF-90 interacts directly with Pol I to increase rRNA synthesis as a consequence of Akt activation. Furthermore, TIF-90 binds preferentially to a 90-kDa cleavage product of the actin binding protein filamin A (FLNA) that inhibits rRNA synthesis. Increased expression of TIF-90 overcomes the inhibitory effect of this cleavage product and stimulates rRNA synthesis. Because activated Akt also reduces FLNA cleavage, these results indicate that activated Akt and TIF-90 function in parallel to increase rRNA synthesis and, as a consequence, cell proliferation in leukemic cells. These results provide evidence that the direct targeting of Akt would be an effective therapy in acute leukemias in which Akt is activated.

Invasive fungal infections, accompanied by high rates of mortality, represent an increasing problem in medicine. Neutrophils are the major effector immune cells in fungal killing. Based on studies with neutrophils from patients with defined genetic defects, we provide evidence that human neutrophils use 2 distinct and independent phagolysosomal mechanisms to kill Candida albicans. The first mechanism for the killing of unopsonized C albicans was found to be dependent on complement receptor 3 (CR3) and the signaling proteins phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase and caspase recruitment domain-containing protein 9 (CARD9), but was independent of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase activity. The second mechanism for the killing of opsonized C albicans was strictly dependent on Fc receptors, protein kinase C (PKC), and reactive oxygen species production by the NADPH oxidase system. Each of the 2 pathways of Candida killing required Syk tyrosine kinase activity, but dectin-1 was dispensable for both of them. These data provide an explanation for the variable clinical presentation of fungal infection in patients suffering from different immune defects, including dectin-1 deficiency, CARD9 deficiency, or chronic granulomatous disease.

The scope and roles of regulated isoform gene expression during erythroid terminal development are poorly understood. We identified hundreds of differentiation-associated isoform changes during terminal erythropoiesis. Sequences surrounding cassette exons of skipped exon events are enriched for motifs bound by the Muscleblind-like (MBNL) family of splicing factors. Knockdown of Mbnl1 in cultured murine fetal liver erythroid progenitors resulted in a strong block in erythroid differentiation and disrupted the developmentally regulated exon skipping of Ndel1 mRNA, which is bound by MBNL1 and critical for erythroid terminal proliferation. These findings reveal an unanticipated scope of the alternative splicing program and the importance of Mbnl1 during erythroid terminal differentiation.

Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is defined by thrombosis, fetal loss, and the presence of antiphospholipid antibodies, including anti–β2-glycoprotein-1 autoantibodies (anti-β2GP1) that have a direct role in the pathogenesis of thrombosis in vivo. The cellular targets of the anti-β2GP1 autoantibody/β2GP1 complex in vivo were studied using a laser-induced thrombosis model of APS in a live mouse and human anti-β2GP1 autoantibodies affinity-purified from APS patients. Cell binding of fluorescently labeled β2GP1 and anti-β2GP1 autoantibodies revealed their colocalization on the platelet thrombus but not the endothelium. Anti-β2GP1 autoantibodies enhanced platelet activation, monitored by calcium mobilization, and endothelial activation, monitored by intercellular adhesion molecule-1 expression. When eptifibatide was infused to block platelet thrombus formation, enhanced fibrin generation and endothelial cell activation were eliminated. Thus, the anti-β2GP1 autoantibody/β2GP1 complex binds to the thrombus, enhancing platelet activation, and platelet secretion leads to enhanced endothelium activation and fibrin generation. These results lead to a paradigm shift away from the concept that binding of the anti-β2GP1 autoantibody/β2GP1 complex activates both endothelial cells and platelets toward one in which activation of platelets in response to anti-β2GP1 autoantibody/β2GP1 complex binding leads to subsequent enhanced endothelium activation and fibrin generation.

Accurate diagnostic assessment of suspected ipsilateral recurrent deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a major clinical challenge because differentiating between acute recurrent thrombosis and residual thrombosis is difficult with compression ultrasonography (CUS). We evaluated noninvasive magnetic resonance direct thrombus imaging (MRDTI) in a prospective study of 39 patients with symptomatic recurrent ipsilateral DVT (incompressibility of a different proximal venous segment than at the prior DVT) and 42 asymptomatic patients with at least 6-month-old chronic residual thrombi and normal D-dimer levels. All patients were subjected to MRDTI. MRDTI images were judged by 2 independent radiologists blinded for the presence of acute DVT and a third in case of disagreement. The sensitivity, specificity, and interobserver reliability of MRDTI were determined. MRDTI demonstrated acute recurrent ipsilateral DVT in 37 of 39 patients and was normal in all 42 patients without symptomatic recurrent disease for a sensitivity of 95% (95% CI, 83% to 99%) and a specificity of 100% (95% CI, 92% to 100%). Interobserver agreement was excellent ( = 0.98). MRDTI images were adequate for interpretation in 95% of the cases. MRDTI is a sensitive and reproducible method for distinguishing acute ipsilateral recurrent DVT from 6-month-old chronic residual thrombi in the leg veins.

Patients undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) are threatened by potentially lethal viral manifestations like cytomegalovirus (CMV) reactivation. Because the success of today’s virostatic treatment is limited by side effects and resistance development, adoptive transfer of virus-specific memory T cells derived from the stem cell donor has been proposed as an alternative therapeutic strategy. In this context, dose minimization of adoptively transferred T cells might be warranted for the avoidance of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), in particular in prophylactic settings after T-cell–depleting allo-HSCT protocols. To establish a lower limit for successful adoptive T-cell therapy, we conducted low-dose CD8+ T-cell transfers in the well-established murine Listeria monocytogenes (L.m.) infection model. Major histocompatibility complex-Streptamer–enriched antigen-specific CD62Lhi but not CD62Llo CD8+ memory T cells proliferated, differentiated, and protected against L.m. infections after prophylactic application. Even progenies derived from a single CD62Lhi L.m.-specific CD8+ T cell could be protective against bacterial challenge. In analogy, low-dose transfers of Streptamer-enriched human CMV-specific CD8+ T cells into allo-HSCT recipients led to strong pathogen-specific T-cell expansion in a compassionate-use setting. In summary, low-dose adoptive T-cell transfer (ACT) could be a promising strategy, particularly for prophylactic treatment of infectious complications after allo-HSCT.

Posttransplant relapse is still the major cause of treatment failure in high-risk acute leukemia. Attempts to manipulate alloreactive T cells to spare normal cells while killing leukemic cells have been unsuccessful. In HLA-haploidentical transplantation, we reported that donor-derived T regulatory cells (Tregs), coinfused with conventional T cells (Tcons), protected recipients against graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). The present phase 2 study investigated whether Treg-Tcon adoptive immunotherapy prevents posttransplant leukemia relapse. Forty-three adults with high-risk acute leukemia (acute myeloid leukemia 33; acute lymphoblastic leukemia 10) were conditioned with a total body irradiation–based regimen. Grafts included CD34+ cells (mean 9.7 x 106/kg), Tregs (mean 2.5 x 106/kg), and Tcons (mean 1.1 x 106/kg). No posttransplant immunosuppression was given. Ninety-five percent of patients achieved full-donor type engraftment and 15% developed ≥grade 2 acute GVHD. The probability of disease-free survival was 0.56 at a median follow-up of 46 months. The very low cumulative incidence of relapse (0.05) was significantly better than in historical controls. These results demonstrate the immunosuppressive potential of Tregs can be used to suppress GVHD without loss of the benefits of graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) activity. Humanized murine models provided insights into the mechanisms underlying separation of GVL from GVHD, suggesting the GVL effect is due to largely unopposed Tcon alloantigen recognition in bone marrow.

Transplant-associated thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA) leads to generalized endothelial dysfunction that can progress to multiorgan injury, and severe cases are associated with poor outcomes after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Identifying patients at highest risk for severe disease is challenging. We prospectively evaluated 100 consecutive HSCT recipients to determine the incidence of moderate and severe TMA and factors associated with poor overall outcomes. Thirty-nine subjects (39%) met previously published criteria for TMA. Subjects with TMA had a significantly higher nonrelapse mortality (43.6% vs 7.8%, P < .0001) at 1 year post-HSCT compared with those without TMA. Elevated lactate dehydrogenase, proteinuria on routine urinalysis, and hypertension were the earliest markers of TMA. Proteinuria (>30 mg/dL) and evidence of terminal complement activation (elevated sC5b-9) in the blood at the time of TMA diagnosis were associated with very poor survival (<20% at 1 year), whereas all TMA subjects without proteinuria and a normal sC5b-9 serum concentration survived (P < .01). Based on these prospective observations, we conclude that severe TMA occurred in 18% of HSCT recipients in our cohort and propose an algorithm to identify the highest-risk patients who might benefit from prompt clinical interventions.