Autocrine VEGF mediates the antiapoptotic effect of CD154 on CLL cells.

M Farahani, AT Treweeke, CH Toh, Kathleen Till, RJ Harris, JC Cawley, M Zuzel, H Chen

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


CD154 is an important regulator of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL)-cell survival. In CLL, high serum levels of VEGF are a feature of advanced disease, and we and others have previously shown that CLL cells produce and secrete this growth factor. Since CD154 stimulates VEGF production in other cell types, and VEGF is known to promote cell survival, we examined whether the cytoprotection of CLL cells by CD154 involves VEGF. We report for the first time that treatment of CLL cells with CD154 results in increased VEGF production and demonstrate involvement of NF-kappaB in this process. Moreover, we show that CD154-induced CLL-cell survival is reduced by anti-VEGF-neutralising antibody and by inhibiting VEGF receptor (VEGFR) signalling with SU5416. However, addition of exogenous VEGF alone or blocking secreted autocrine VEGF had little or no effect on CLL-cell survival. We therefore conclude that CLL-cell cytoprotection in the presence of CD154 requires combined signalling by both CD40 and VEGFR. This combined signalling and resulting cytoprotection were shown to involve NF-kappaB activation and increased survivin production. In conclusion, our findings identify autocrine VEGF as an important mediator of the antiapoptotic effect of CD40 ligation, and thus provide new insights into CLL-cell rescue by CD154 in lymphoreticular tissues.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2005


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