Expression and functional role of c-kit ligand (SCF) in human multiple myeloma cells

R. M. Lemoli, A. Fortuna, A. Grande, B. Gamberi, L. Bonsi, M. Fogli, M. Amabile, M. Cavo, S. Ferrari, S. Tura

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In this study we investigated the proliferation of three well-documented MM lines and 10 bone marrow samples from myeloma patients in response to rh-SCF alone and combined with Interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL 3 and IL 3/GM-CSF fusion protein PIXY 321. Neoplastic plasma cells were highly purified (>90%) by immunomagnetic depletion of T, myeloid, monocytoid and NK cells. The number of S-phase cells was evaluated after 3 and 7 d of liquid culture by the bromodeoxyuridine (BRDU) incorporation assay. The proliferation of RPMI 8226 and U266 cell lines was also assessed by a clonogenic assay. All the experiments were performed in serum-free conditions. RPMI 8226 cell line was not stimulated by SCF which also did not augment the proliferative activity of IL-6, IL-3 and PIXY-321. Conversely, SCF addition resulted in 2.4-fold increase of the number of U266 colonies and in a higher number of U266 and MT3 cells in S-phase (24.5 ± 2% SEM v 14.5 ± 1% SEM and 32 ± 3% SEM v 21 ± 4% SEM, respectively; P <0.05). The c-kit ligand also enhanced the proliferation of MT3 and U266 cells mediated by the other cytokines. Anti-SCF polyclonal antibodies completely abrogated the proliferative response of MT3 cells to exogenous SCF and markedly reduced the spontaneous growth of the same cell line. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction amplification (RT-PCR) did detect SCP mRNA in MT3 and RPMI 8226 cells. Moreover, secreted SCF was found, in a biologically active form, in the supernatant of the two cell lines by the MO7e proliferation assay. When tested on fresh myeloma samples, SCF increased the number of S-phase plasma cells (4.7 ± 1.6% v 3.4 ± 1.3% in control cultures; P = 0.02). Significant proliferation was also induced by IL-6 (71 ± 2.3% of BRDU+ cells; P = 0.006), IL-3 (5.3 ± 13%; P = 0.01) and PIXY-321 (5.4 ± 1.6%; P = 0.02). The addition of SCF significantly enhanced the proliferation of myeloma cells responsive to IL-6. In summary, our results indicate that SCF is expressed in MM cells and stimulates the proliferation of neoplastic plasma cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)760-769
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Haematology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1994


  • Autocrine-paracrine growth loop
  • Cell proliferation
  • Gene expression
  • Multiple myeloma
  • SCF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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