Cytomegalovirus induces HLA-class-II-restricted alloreactivity in an acute myeloid leukemia cell line

Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) reactivation is found frequently after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (alloSCT) and is associated with an increased treatment-related mortality. Recent reports suggest a link between HCMV and a reduced risk of cancer progression in patients with acute leukemia or lymphoma after alloSCT. Here we show that HCMV can inhibit the proliferation of the acute myeloid leukemia cell line Kasumi-1 and the promyeloid leukemia cell line NB4. HCMV induced a significant up-regulation of HLA-class-II-molecules, especially HLA-DR expression and an increase of apoptosis, granzyme B, perforin and IFN-γ secretion in Kasumi-1 cells cocultured with peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Indolamin-2,3-dioxygenase on the other hand led only to a significant dose-dependent effect on IFN-γ secretion without effects on proliferation. The addition of CpG-rich oligonucleotides and ganciclovir reversed those antiproliferative effects. We conclude that HCMV can enhance alloreactivity of PBMCs against Kasumi-1 and NB4 cells in vitro. To determine if this phenomenon may be clinically relevant further investigations will be required.


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