Fas/Fas ligand (FasL)-deregulated apoptosis and IL-6 insensitivity in highly malignant myeloma cells

M. A. Frassanito, F. Silvestris, N. Silvestris, P. Cafforio, G. Camarda, G. Iodice, F. Dammacco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


IL-6 is a growth factor which interferes in the apoptosis of malignant plasma cells. Here we explore its role in the spontaneous and Fas/FasL- regulated apoptosis of seven myeloma cell clones (MCC). MCC-2 and -7 were constitutively defective in Fas antigen in the presence of large membrane exposure of FasL, and showed a high rate of cell proliferation irrespective of the presence of IL-6. Cytofluorimetric analysis following propidium iodide (PI) staining revealed a minimal extent of spontaneous apoptosis, as in other IL-6-insensitive, though Fas-positive MCC, namely MCC-3 and -5. By contrast, a regular amplitude of apoptosis occurred in the remaining IL-6-dependent clones. Their propensity to cell death, as well as their FasL membrane expression, were promptly down-modulated by the cytokine, whereas no substantial effect was detected in IL-6-independent MCC. Furthermore, we investigated the quantitative secretion of FasL. Both [3-(4,5- dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5diphenyl tetrazolium bromide] (MTT) cytotoxicity assay and PI staining of WC8 lymphoblasts from a Fas-transfected mouse lymphoma, incubated with supernatants from MCC, showed a variable cytocidal property, thus confirming the cellular release of FasL. However, a significant elevation of FasL secretion occurred in both Fas- MCC, whereas molecular cloning and sequencing of Fas revealed the presence of a splicing variant, namely Fas Exo4,6Del, in the cDNA from both MCC-3 and -5, which were previously demonstrated to be unresponsive to Fas stimulation. Taken together, these data provide evidence that concurrence of IL-6 insensitivity and deregulation of apoptosis in myeloma cells reflects a high malignancy grade. It is suggested that the secretion of Fas splicing variants in Fas+ plasma cells, as well as the over-production of FasL in Fas- myelomas, are differential mechanisms by which myeloma cells escape host immune surveillance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-188
Number of pages10
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • Fas
  • Fas ligand
  • IL-6
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Plasma cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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