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Keywords:

  • chronic neutropenia;
  • T-lymphocytes;
  • myelosuppression;
  • interferon-γ;
  • Fas-ligand

Summary

To characterize the cellular components responsible for the impaired granulopoiesis in chronic idiopathic neutropenia (CIN), we investigated the origin of the proapoptotic cytokine producing cells in the bone marrow (BM) microenvironment of CIN patients. We found that the interferon gamma (IFNγ) and/or Fas-ligand expressing cells in patient BM mononuclear cells and long-term BM culture stroma cells were the CD3+ T-lymphocytes but not the CD14+ monocytes/macrophages. The percentage of activated T-lymphocytes was increased in patients’ BM as indicated by the proportions of human leucocyte antigen (HLA)-DR+, CD25+, CD38+, CD69+ and Fas+ cells within the CD3+ fraction. Intracellular IFNγ expression was higher in the BM than peripheral blood of the patients and was associated with increased BM T-lymphocyte numbers. In crossover experiments, patient CD3+ T-lymphocytes conferred autologous and allogeneic haemopoietic progenitor cell colony inhibition. Patients’ T-cell receptor repertoire and polymerase chain reaction analysis did not reveal any clonal T-lymphocyte expansion, suggesting the absence of a direct, antigen-driven recognition of CD34+ myeloid progenitor cells by patient T-lymphocytes. We conclude that CIN patients have increased number of activated T-lymphocytes in the BM, probably in the setting of a localized polyclonal immune reaction and that these cells confer an inhibitory effect on myelopoiesis through myelosuppressive cytokines including Fas-ligand and IFNγ.