Activated autologous T cells exert an anti-B-cell chronic lymphatic leukemia effect in vitro and in vivo

Mauro Di Ianni, Lorenzo Moretti, Adelmo Terenzi, Federico Bazzucchi, Beatrice Del Papa, Moira Bazzucchi, Raffaella Ciurnelli, Alessandro Lucchesi, Paolo Sportoletti, Emanuela Rosati, Pier Francesco Marconi, Franca Falzetti, Antonio Tabilio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background aims: The impact of chronic lymphatic leukemia (CLL) tumor burden on the autologous immune system has already been demonstrated. This study attempted to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying T-cell immunologic deficiencies in CLL. Methods: Freshly isolated CD3+ T cells from patients with a diagnosis of CLL and healthy donors were analyzed by gene expression profiling. Activated T cells from 20 patients with CLL were tested in vitro for cytotoxicity against mutated and unmutated autologous B cells and DAUDI, K562 and P815 cell lines. To investigate T-cell mediated cytotoxicity in vivo, we co-transplanted OKT3-activated T lymphocytes and autologous B-cell CLL (B-CLL) cells into NOD/SCID mice. Results: Gene expression profiles of peripheral blood T cells from B-CLL patients showed 25 down-regulated, and 31 up-regulated, genes that were mainly involved in cell differentiation, proliferation, survival, apoptosis, cytoskeleton formation, vesicle trafficking and T-cell activation. After culture, the T-cell count remained unchanged, CD8 cells expanded more than CD4 and a cytotoxicity index > 30% was present in 5/20 patients. Cytotoxicity against B autologous leukemic cells did not correlate with B-cell mutational status. Only activated T cells exerting cytotoxicity against autologous leukemic B cells prevented CLL in a human-mouse chimera. Conclusions: This study indicates that patients with CLL are affected by a partial immunologic defect that might be somewhat susceptible to repair. This study identifies the molecular pathways underlying T-cell deficiencies in CLL and shows that cytotoxic T-cell functions against autologous B-CLL can be rebuilt at least in part in vitro and in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-96
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Autologous anti-tumoral activity
  • Chronic lymphatic leukemia
  • Gene expression profiling
  • NOD/SCID mice
  • OKT3 activation
  • T lymphocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Molecular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Activated autologous T cells exert an anti-B-cell chronic lymphatic leukemia effect in vitro and in vivo'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this