Abstract 3622

Poster Board III-558

Despite recent advances in our understanding of megakaryocytic growth and platelet production, thrombocytopenia remains a difficult problem in the clinical management of patients with hematologic malignancies. Thrombopoietin (TPO) is the major cytokine involved in the normal production of platelets. However, the use of TPO has been relatively unsuccessful for the treatment of these patients and platelet transfusions remain the primary treatment for thrombocytopenia despite their significant cost and relatively short-lived responses. Thus, there remains an important clinical need for the development of novel approaches to generate platelets. Despite numerous reports on protein kinase C (PKC) agonists as promoters of megakaryocytic differentiation in leukemic cell lines and primary cells, little is known about their in vitro effects on primary CD34-selected progenitors or when administered in vivo. In the present study, we examine that effects of the novel PKC isoform agonist ingenol 3,20 dibenzoate (IDB) on megakaryocyte differentiation from CD34+ cells cultured in TPO and stem cell factor (SCF) or erythropoietin/SCF and its effects on platelet production in BALB/c mice. IDB potently stimulates early megakaryopoiesis and redirects the specificity of EPO to favor megakaryopoiesis over erythropoiesis. In contrast, broad spectrum PKC agonists such as phorbol myristate acetate, mezerein, and indolactam V fail to promote megakaryopoiesis. In vitro, IDB stimulates early expression of the promegakaryopoietic transcription factors egr1 and fli-1 and downregulates the proerythropoietic factors KLF1 and c-myb. Induction of the early megakaryocytic marker, CD9, was observed within the first 24 hrs of treatment with IDB and CD9 induction was blocked by the PKC inhibitor bisindolylmaleimide, which inhibits both novel and conventional PKC isoforms. In contrast, an inhibitor of conventional PKC isoforms, Gö6976, failed to block CD9 induction. In vivo, single intraperitoneal injections of IDB selectively increased platelet counts in BALB/c mice by 50% (plt= 630,000 vs. 985,000/μl; p<.005) at day 7 without affecting hemoglobin (Hgb) concentration or white counts (WBC). Mice treated with low dose radiation (2-4 Gy) had a transient drop in both platelet and WBC counts. Pretreatment with IDB 3 hrs prior to irradiation increased the platelet counts without improving WBC. More severe radiation exposure (6-8 Gy) causes pancytopenia. IDB treatment 3 hrs prior to 6 Gy irradiation significantly reduced the thrombocytopenia (plt=192,000 vs 594,000/μl; p<0.005) and anemia (hemoglobin=11.9 vs. 13.5gm/dl); p<0.005) without affecting the drop in WBC (WBC=1,200 vs. 1,300/μl; p=NS) at 14 days following irradiation. For mice treated with 8 Gy radiation, IDB pretreatment resulted in similar improvements in platelet counts (plt=111,000 vs. 443,000/μl; p<0.005) and hemoglobin (hgb=8.2 vs. 12.7 gm/dl; p<0.005) at 21 days following irradiation. The mitigation of thrombocytopenia is accompanied by marked increases in the megakaryocyte content in both the spleens and bone marrows of IDB-treated mice. Most importantly, IDB mitigated radiation-induced thrombocytopenia, even when administered 24 hrs after irradiation (plt=80,000 vs. 241,000/μl at 14 days following 6 Gy irradiation; p<0.01). Finally, IDB improved the survival of lethally irradiated mice. Our data suggest that the novel PKC isoform agonist IDB promotes the early differentiation of megakaryocytes from hematopoietic progenitors at the resulting in a significant improvement in platelet recovery following irradiation. IDB also improved Hgb levels following higher radiation doses. This may be due to improved hemostasis secondary to increased platelet numbers; however, an additional radioprotective effect on erythroid precursors cannot be excluded. These results strongly support our hypothesis that the novel PKC agonist IDB may be useful for the treatment of radiation and possibly drug-induced thrombocytopenia.


No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.