Flow cytometric analysis of intercellular adhesion between B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemic cells and bone marrow stromal cells.
The growth of B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemic (BCP ALL) cells in vitro is dependent on interactions with bone marrow (BM) stromal cells. We have recently demonstrated that the rate of cell division of BCP ALL cells increases when cultured in direct contact with BM stromal cells. In this study we describe a new method for examining the direct binding of BM stromal cells and BCP ALL cells at a cellular level. For this binding assay, BCP ALL cells from six patient samples were first stained with the lipophilic fluorescent probe PKH 26 GL and mixed with BM stromal cells in suspension. In all cases, aggregates between BCP ALL and BM stromal cells were identified by flow cytometry and isolated. Using this assay we have examined some of the mechanisms involved in this binding process. The pattern of aggregate formation at various leukemic/stromal cell ratios showed that the aggregate formation increased by increasing the number of either cell type and that the binding could not be saturated. This suggests that the interaction between these cells is an equilibrium reaction. Functional studies showed that the majority of BCP ALL-BM stromal cell binding is dependent on the presence of divalent cations and requires active cellular metabolism. Finally, by use of inhibitory monoclonal antibodies (moAbs) directed against cell adhesion molecules including anti-CD29, VCAM and CD18, we have demonstrated that the involvement of these molecules in the direct cellular interactions could be detected by this method. However, the maximum inhibition observed was 36% which suggests either that the avidity is low or that other adhesion molecules are involved. The data show that the use of flow cytometric analysis of aggregate formation (rather than cell binding to intact cell layers) allows the study of cell interactions at the individual cell level which can reveal additional cellular adhesion mechanisms.
Ashley, DM; Bol, SJ; Tucker, DP; Waugh, CM; Kannourakis, G
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