H and l ferritin gene expression in u937 cells induced to macrophage differentiation

Giovanna Bianchi-scarrá, Marco Musso, Cecilia Garré, Giovanna Cutrona, Paola Fiorentini, Daniela Zarcone, Vito Pistoia

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Ferritin is an ubiquitous protein that has been shown to regulate cell differentiation in several experimental systems. In this study we have investigated the expression of ferritin genes encoding the heavy (H) and light (L) chains in the U937 cell line, induced to differentiate to macrophage-like cells by 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA), retinoic acid (RA) or 1-βD-arabinofuranosylcytosine (Ara-C). An increase in the level of H ferritin mRNA was detected in U937 cells that had been incubated with Ara-C. Treatment of U937 cells with Actinomycin D suggested that the H ferritin mRNA increase was mediated by post-transcriptional mechanisms. The L ferritin mRNA level increased only following stimulation of U937 cells with RA. Immunophenotypic and cytochemical analyses showed that Ara-C was the strongest inducer of the macrophagic differentiation of U937 cells. These results suggest that the increase of H ferritin mRNA expression may represent a sensitive marker of myeloid cells differentiating along the monocyte-macrophage lineage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-115
Number of pages7
JournalLeukemia and Lymphoma
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1993


  • Ara-C
  • H/L ferritins
  • U937 cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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