'Role of bone marrow stromal cells in the growth of human multiple myeloma

Federico Caligaris-Cappio, Luciana Bergui, Maria Grazia Gregoretti, Gianluca Gaidano, Mirella Gaboli, Marina Schena, Alberta Zambonin Zallone, Pier Carlo Marchisio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have verified the hypothesis that multiple myeloma (MM) may be disseminated by circulating clonogenic cells that selectively home to the bone marrow (BM) to receive the signal(s) leading to proliferation, terminal differentiation, and production of the osteoclast activating factors. Long-term cultures of stromal cells have been developed from the BM of nine patients with MM. These cells were mostly fibroblast-like elements, interspersed with a proportion of scattered macrophages and rare osteoclasts. BM stromal cells were CD54+, produced high levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and measurable amounts of IL-1β, and were used as feeder layers for autologous peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). After 3 weeks of cocultures, monoclonal B lymphocytes and plasma cells, derived from PBMC, developed and the number of osteoclasts significantly increased. Both populations grew tightly adherent to the stromal cell layer and their expansion was matched by a sharp increase of IL-6 and by the appearance of IL-3 in the culture supernatant. These data attribute to BM stromal cells a critical role in supporting the growth of B lymphocytes, plasma cells, and osteoclasts and the in vivo dissemination of MM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2688-2693
Number of pages6
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 15 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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