The interleukin (IL)-31/IL-31R axis contributes to tumor growth in human follicular lymphoma

E. Ferretti, C. Tripodo, G. Pagnan, C. Guarnotta, D. Marimpietri, M. V. Corrias, D. Ribatti, S. Zupo, G. Fraternali-Orcioni, J. L. Ravetti, V. Pistoia, A. Corcione

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Interleukin (IL)-31A binds to an heterodimer composed of IL-31 receptor A (IL-31RA) and Oncostatin M Receptor (OSMR). The IL-31/IL-31R complex is involved in the pathogenesis of various skin diseases, including cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. No information is available on the relations between the IL-31/IL-31R complex and B-cell lymphoma. Here we have addressed this issue in follicular lymphoma (FL), a prototypic germinal center(GC)-derived B-cell malignancy. IL-31 enhanced primary FL cell proliferation through IL-31R-driven signal transducer and activator of transcription factor 1/3 (STAT1/3), extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) and Akt phosphorylation. In contrast, GC B cells did not signal to IL-31 in spite of IL-31R expression. GC B cells expressed predominantly the inhibitory short IL-31RA isoform, whereas FL cells expressed predominantly the long signaling isoform. Moreover, GC B cells lacked expression of other IL-31RA isoforms potentially involved in the signaling pathway. IL-31 protein expression was significantly higher in surface membrane than in cytosol of both FL and GC B cells. IL-31 was detected in plasma membrane microvesicles from both cell types but not released in soluble form in culture supernatants. IL-31 and IL-31RA expression was higher in lymph nodes from FL patients with grade IIIa compared with grade I/II, suggesting a paracrine and/or autocrine role of IL-31/IL-31RA complex in tumor progression through microvesicle shedding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)958-967
Number of pages10
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 15 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Cancer Research
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
  • Medicine(all)


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