Inhibition of hemopoiesis in vitro by neuroblastoma-derived gangliosides

H Sietsma, W Nijhof, B Dontje, E Vellenga, WA Kamps, JW Kok*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Hemopoiesis is disturbed in bone marrow-involving cancers like leukemia and neuroblastoma. Shedding of gangliosides by tumor cells may contribute to this tumor-induced bone marrow suppression, We studied in vitro the inhibitory effects of murine neuroblastoma cells (Neuro-2a and C1300) and their gangliosides on hemopoiesis using normal murine hemopoietic progenitor colony-forming assays. Transwell cultured neuroblastoma cells showed a dose-dependent inhibition on hemopoiesis, indicating that a soluble factor was responsible fur this effect. Furthermore, the supernatant of Neuro-2a cultured cells inhibited hemopoietic proliferation and differentiation. To determine whether the inhibitory effect was indeed due to shed gangliosides and not, for instance, caused by cytokines, the effect of DL-threo-1-phenyl-2-decanoylamino-3-morpholino-1-propanol (DL-PDMP) on Neuro-2a cells was studied. DL-PDMP is a potent inhibitor of glucosylceramide synthase, resulting in inhibition of the synthesis and shedding of gangliosides. The initially observed inhibitory effect of supernatant of Neuroda cells was abrogated by culturing these cells for 3 days in the presence of 10 mu M DL-PDMP. Moreover, gangliosides isolated from Neuro-Za cell membranes inhibited hemopoietic growth, To determine whether the described phenomena in vitro are a reflection of bone marrow suppression occurring in vivo, gangliosides isolated from plasma of neuroblastoma patients were tested for their effects on human hemopoietic progenitor colony-forming assays. These human neuroblastoma-derived gangliosides inhibited normal erythropoiesis (colony-forming unit-erythroid/burst-forming unit-erythroid) and myelopoiesis (colony-forming unit-granulocyte/macrophage) to a higher extent compared with gangliosides isolated from control plasma. Altogether these results suggest that gangliosides shed by neuroblastoma cells inhibit hemopoiesis and may contribute to the observed hone marrow depression in neuroblastoma patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4840-4844
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Research
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 1-Nov-1998


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