Endothelin-1 promotes survival and chemoresistance in chronic lymphocytic leukemia B cells through eta receptor

Rossana Maffei, Jenny Bulgarelli, Stefania Fiorcari, Silvia Martinelli, Ilaria Castelli, Vanessa Valenti, Davide Rossi, Goretta Bonacorsi, Patrizia Zucchini, Leonardo Potenza, Daniele Vallisa, Valter Gattei, Giovanni Del Poeta, Francesco Forconi, Gianluca Gaidano, Franco Narni, Mario Luppi, Roberto Marasca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The endothelin axis, comprising endothelins (ET-1, ET-2 and ET-3) and their receptors (ETAR and ETBR), has emerged as relevant player in tumor growth and metastasis. Here, we investigated the involvement of ET-1/ETAR axis in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). CLL cells expressed higher levels of ET-1 and ETA receptor as compared to normal B cells. ET-1 peptide stimulated phosphoinositide-3-kinase and mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathways, improved survival and promoted proliferation of leukemic cells throughout ETAR triggering. Moreover, the blockade of ETAR by the selective antagonist BQ-123 inhibited the survival advantage acquired by CLL cells in contact with endothelial layers. We also found that blocking ETAR via BQ-123 interferes with ERK phosphorylation and CLL pro-survival effect mediated by B-cell receptor (BCR) activation. The pro-apoptotic effect of phosphoinositide-3-kinase δ inhibitor idelalisib and mitogen-activated protein kinase inhibitor PD98059 was decreased by the addition of ET-1 peptide. Then, ET-1 also reduced the cytotoxic effect of fludarabine on CLL cells cultured alone or co-cultured on endothelial layers. ETAR blockade by BQ-123 inhibited the ET-1-mediated protection against drug-induced apoptosis. Lastly, higher plasma levels of big ET-1 were detected in patients (n = 151) with unfavourable prognostic factors and shorter time to first treatment. In conclusion, our data describe for the first time a role of ET-1/ETAR signaling in CLL pathobiology. ET-1 mediates survival, drug-resistance, and growth signals in CLL cells that can be blocked by ETAR inhibition.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere98818
JournalPLoS One
Volume9
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 5 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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