Multiple myeloma (MM) is characterized by clonal proliferation of CD138+ plasma cells in the bone marrow (BM) and remains an incurable disease. Recent identification of a rare population of MM cancer stem cells (MM CSC) is phenotypically similar to memory B cells (CD138- CD34- CD19+) but differs in that they have the self-renewal capacity within the BM and may be responsible for drug resistance. Preclinical testing of novel therapeutic strategies that target MM CSC requires animal models that closely resemble human disease and allow quantitative evaluation of the applied therapy. We have previously reported results on establishing a MM animal model by transplanting MM CSC from autologous mobilized peripheral blood of primary MM patients, transduced with lentiviral luciferase GFP (GLF) and transplanted intrahepatically (IH) into neonatal RAG2/gc double knock-out (RG-KO). Here we evaluate engraftment efficiency in consideration of BM microenvironment by comparing CD45+ human cell engraftment in mice transplanted either IH to neonates or intrafemorally (IF) to gamma-irradiated young adult mice. MM CSC were selected from isolated PBMC after Ficoll gradient centrifugation of fresh BM biopsy from two primary MM patients or from a human MM cell line, H929, followed by immunomagnetic bead depletion of CD34+ and CD138+ cells. The cells were transplanted into RG-KO mice ranging from 53,000 to 10⋀6 cells per mouse either IH or IF. Mice transplanted with GLF-transduced MM CSC were imaged with an in vivo imaging system (IVIS) to detect bioluminescent engraftment. Results showed that bioluminescence signal levels were detected in mice transplanted IF with 53,000 MM CSC per mouse even before 3 weeks by ventral view and as early as 5 weeks by lateral view. To date, tumor growth was only discovered in mice transplanted IH with 2 × 10⋀6 unselected MM PBMC from a fresh BM biopsy as early as 10 week post-transplantation. FACS analysis of these mice demonstrated successful engraftment with the presence of CD45+, CD19+ and CD138+ population in tumor, bone marrow, spleen and liver. In addition, expression of clonal light chain restriction in myeloma cells confirmed myeloma engraftment. Future studies will focus on expression of genes involved in sonic hedgehog pathway as analyzed by PCR to confirm the self-renewal capacity. Moreover, investigations on the effect of B cell-activating factor (BAFF) in BM microenvironment by transplanting MM CSC into BAFFxRG-KO mice are in progress.
Jamieson:Bristol-Meyers Squibb: Research Funding.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.