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Aberrant Notch Signaling in the Bone Marrow Microenvironment of Acute Lymphoid Leukemia Suppresses Osteoblast-Mediated Support of Hematopoietic Niche Function

More than half of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) patients harbor gain-of-function mutations in the intracellular domain of Notch1. Diffuse infiltration of the bone marrow commonly occurs in T-ALL and relapsed B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients, and is associated with worse prognosis. However, the mechanism of leukemia outgrowth in the marrow and the resulting biologic impact on hematopoiesis are poorly understood. Here, we investigated targetable cellular and molecular abnormalities in leukemia marrow stroma responsible for the suppression of normal hematopoiesis using a T-ALL mouse model and human T-ALL xenografts. We found that actively proliferating leukemia cells inhibited normal hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell (HSPC) proliferation and homing to the perivascular region. In addition, leukemia development was accompanied by the suppression of the endosteum-lining osteoblast population. We further demonstrated that aberrant Notch activation in the stroma plays an important role in negatively regulating the expression of CXLC12 on osteoblasts and their differentiation. Notch blockade reversed attenuated HSPC cycling, leukemia-associated abnormal blood lineage distribution, and thrombocytopenia as well as recovered osteoblast and HSPC abundance and improved the hematopoietic-supportive functions of osteoblasts. Finally, we confirmed that reduced osteoblast frequency and enhanced Notch signaling were also features of the marrow stroma of human ALL tissues. Collectively, our findings suggest that therapeutically targeting the leukemia-infiltrated hematopoietic niche may restore HSPC homeostasis and improve the outcome of ALL patients.

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S2711 Dibenzazepine (YO-01027) Dibenzazepine (YO-01027) is a dipeptidic γ-secretase inhibitor with IC50 of 2.6 nM and 2.9 nM in cell-free assays for APPL and Notch cleavage, respectively. (10) (4)

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