Aberrant expression of TRAIL in B chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL) cells

Paola Secchiero, Mario Tiribelli, Elisa Barbarotto, Claudio Celeghini, Angela Michelutti, Paola Masolini, Renato Fanin, Giorgio Zauli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Analysis of peripheral blood (>85% CD19+/CD5+ B) lymphocytes, obtained from 44 patients affected by B chronic lymphoid leukemia (B-CLL), showed that surface TNF-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL) was expressed in all samples and at higher levels with respect to unfractionated lymphocytes and purified CD19+ B cells, obtained from 15 normal blood donors. Of note, in a subset of B-CLL samples, the addition to B-CLL cultures of a TRAIL-R1-Fc chimera, which binds at high affinity to surface TRAIL, significantly decreased the percentage of viable cells with respect to untreated control B-CLL cells, suggesting that surface TRAIL may play an unexpected role in promoting B-CLL cell survival. In spite of the majority of B-CLL lymphocytes expressed variable surface levels of "death receptors" TRAIL-R1 and TRAIL-R2, the addition in culture of recombinant TRAIL increased (>20% vs. controls) the degree of spontaneous apoptosis in only 11/44 of the B-CLL samples, had no effect in 19/44, while it significantly increased leukemic cell survival in 14/44. Taken together, these findings suggest that an aberrant expression of TRAIL might contribute to the pathogenesis of B-CLL by promoting the survival in a subset of B-CLL cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-252
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Physiology


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