Abstract

A single acquired point mutation of JAK2 1849G>T (V617F), a tyrosine kinase with a key role in signal transduction from growth factor receptors, is found in 70%–97% of patients with polycythemia vera (PV). In the studies of tyrosine kinase inhibitors on JAK2 1849G>T (see Gaikwad et all abstract at this meeting) we decided to study the possible therapeutic effect of these agents using native in vitro expanded cells from peripheral blood. To our surprise, the in vitro expansion of PV progenitors preferentially augmented cells without JAK2 1849G>T mutation.

We used a 3 step procedure to amplify erythroid precursors in different stages of differentiation from the peripheral blood of 5 PV patients previously found to be homozygous or heterozygous for the JAK2 1849G>T mutation. In the first step (days 1–7), 106/ml MNCs were cultured in the presence of Flt-3 (50 ng/ml), Tpo (100 ng/ml), and SCF (100 ng/ml). In the second step (days 8–14), the cells obtained on day 7 were re-suspended at 106/ml in the same medium with SCF (50 ng/ml), IGF-1 (50 ng/ml), and 3 units/ml Epo. In the third step, the cells collected on day 14 were re-suspended at 106/ml and cultured for two more days in the presence of the same cytokine mixture as in the step 2 but without SCF. The cultures were incubated at 37oC in 5% CO2/95% air atmosphere and the medium renewed every three days to ensure good cell proliferation. The expanded cells were stained with phycoerythrin-conjugated anti-CD235A (glycophorin) and fluorescein isothiocyanate-conjugated anti-human-CD71 (transferrin receptor) monoclonal antibodies and analyzed by flow cytometry. The cells were divided by their differential expression of these antigens into 5 subgroups ranging from primitive erythroid progenitors (BFU-Es and CFU-Es) to polychromatophilic and orthochromatophilic erythroblasts; over 70% of harvested cells were early and late basophilic erythroblasts. The proportion of JAK2 1849G>T mutation in clonal PV granulocytes (GNC) before in vitro expansion and in expanded erythroid precursors was quantitated by pyrosequencing (Jelinek, Blood in press) and is depicted in the Table.

These data indicate that in vitro expansion of PV progenitors favors expansion of erythroid precursors without JAK2 V617F mutation. Since three PV samples were from females with clonal granulocytes, erythrocytes, and platelets, experiments were underway to determine if the in vitro expanded erythroid cells were clonal PV cells without JAK2 V617F mutation, or derived from polyclonal rare circulating normal hematopoietic progenitors.

The Proportion of JAK2 T Allele

PatientsGNC T Allele (%)Expanded Cells T Allele (%)
PV1 (Female) 81 10 
PV2 (Male) 77 28 
PV3 (Male) 44 42 
PV4 (Female) 78 19 
PV5 (Female) 78 28 
PatientsGNC T Allele (%)Expanded Cells T Allele (%)
PV1 (Female) 81 10 
PV2 (Male) 77 28 
PV3 (Male) 44 42 
PV4 (Female) 78 19 
PV5 (Female) 78 28 

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