Multiple myeloma is characterized by the malignant growth of immunoglobulin producing plasma cells, predominantly in the bone marrow. The effects of primary human mesenchymal stromal cells on the differentiation phenotype of multiple myeloma cells were studied by co-culture experiments. The incubation of multiple myeloma cells with bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells resulted in significant reduction of the expression of the predominant plasma cell differentiation markers CD38 and CD138, and cell surface immunoglobulin light chain. While the down-regulation of CD138 by stromal cells was completely dependent on their adhesive interactions with the multiple myeloma cells, interleukin-6 induced specific down-regulation of CD38. Mesenchymal stromal cells or their conditioned media inhibited the growth of multiple myeloma cell line, thereby reducing the overall amounts of secreted light chains. Analysis of primary multiple myeloma bone marrow samples reveled that the expression of CD38 on multiple myeloma cells was not affected by adhesive interactions. The ex vivo propagation of primary multiple myeloma cells resulted in significant increase in their differentiation markers. Overall, the data indicate that the bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells revert multiple myeloma cells to less differentiated phenotype by the combined activities of adhesive interactions and interleukin-6.
- Multiple myeloma