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3872 Sitagliptin Alleviates Excessive Autophagy in Macrophages in Immune Thrombocytopenia Patients to Promote Megakaryopoiesis Via the AMPK/mTOR Pathway

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 506. Bone Marrow Microenvironment: Poster III
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Research, Fundamental Science, Translational Research
Monday, December 12, 2022, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM

Jin Wu1*, Yun He, MD2*, Haixia Fu3*, Qiusha Huang4*, ZhuoYu An5*, Ye-Jun Wu5*, Xiaolu Zhu6*, Qi Chen3*, Kaiyan Liu, MD, PhD7 and Xiaohui Zhang2*

1Peking University People’s Hospital, Peking University Institute of Hematology, National Clinical Research Center for Hematology Disease, Beijing Key Laboratory of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation, Beijing, China
2Peking University People’s Hospital & Peking University Institute of Hematology, National Clinical Research Center for Hematologic Disease, Beijing Key Laboratory of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation, Beijing, China
3Peking University People’s Hospital, Peking University Institute of Haematology, Beijing, China
4Peking University People's Hospital, Beijing, CHN
5Peking University People's Hospital, Peking University Institute of Hematology, Beijing, China
6Peking University Institute of Hematology, Peking University People's Hospital, Beijing, China
7Peking University People’s Hospital, Peking University Institute of Hematology, Beijing, China

Introduction: The pathogenesis of ITP is complex and mainly manifests as autoantibody-mediated platelet destruction and impaired platelet production. Autophagy is a highly conserved cellular process that eliminates damaged organelles and promotes the degradation of misfolded proteins. Appropriate autophagy exerts a protective effect, while excessive autophagy may lead to cell death and increased inflammation. The specific role of bone marrow macrophages (BM MΦ) in regulating megakaryopoiesis in ITP patients has not been elucidated. Sitagliptin, a DPP-4 inhibitor, was reported to play a key role in the production and engraftment of hematopoietic cells by modulating SDF-1α and several colony-stimulating factors, thus enhancing hematopoietic stem and hematopoietic progenitor cell recovery. However, whether sitagliptin has the potential to promote megakaryocyte maturation and platelet production in ITP is unclear. Therefore, this article explores the effect of macrophage autophagy on megakaryopoiesis in ITP patients and investigates its underlying role in the pathogenesis of ITP in order to explore whether sitagliptin could be a potential treatment for ITP.

Methods: BM MΦ and CD34+ cells were isolated from ITP patients and healthy control subjects. Excessive autophagy in bone marrow macrophages from ITP patients was confirmed by Western blotting and transmission electron microscopy. PCR and Western blotting were used to assess the expression of A20 and autophagy-related AMPK/mTOR/ULK1 pathway components in ITP-MΦ. Vectors carrying A20 cDNA/TNFAIP3-specific shRNA were transduced into the BM MΦ from either healthy control subjects or ITP patients. The different BM MΦ populations were separately cocultured with CD34+ cells. We compared the ability of BM MΦ to support megakaryocytopoiesis by determining the relative percentages of MKs at different stages using flow cytometry as well as CFU counts of megakaryocytes and platelets in culture. The mechanism by which sitagliptin normalized the impaired function of ITP-MΦ was evaluated in vitro. A prospective single-arm clinical cohort study was designed to explore the efficacy and safety of sitagliptin in the treatment of corticosteroid-resistant or relapsed ITP.

Results: The expression of LC3-II/LC3-I and Beclin1 increased in ITP-MΦ, and the expression of P62 decreased. The number of autophagic vesicles also increased, indicating enhanced autophagy in ITP-MΦ. Transcriptome sequencing and untargeted metabolomics revealed that macrophage autophagy-related pathways were involved in the pathogenesis of ITP. Further studies confirmed that ITP-MΦ regulated megakaryopoiesis, which was dependent on the A20-mediated autophagy-related AMPK/mTOR/ULK1 pathway. Inhibition of A20 expression with A20-shRNA inhibited the AMPK/mTOR/ULK1 pathway and alleviated excessive autophagy in ITP-MΦ, thus increasing the number of megakaryocytes, the proportion of hyperploid megakaryocytes and the number of platelets produced in the ITP-MΦ coculture system. Inhibition of autophagy with the autophagy inhibitor 3-MA reversed the A20 overexpression-induced excessive autophagy in MΦ and normalized the differentiation and maturation of megakaryocytes. Inhibiting the AMPK/mTOR/ULK1 signaling pathway with the AMPK inhibitor Compound C reversed the A20 overexpression-induced increase in the expression of AMPK/mTOR/ULK1 autophagy pathway components in MΦ and normalized megakaryopoiesis. Sitagliptin was found to inhibit the expression of A20 and AMPK/mTOR/ULK1 autophagy pathway components in ITP-MΦ in vitro. Sitagliptin improved the ability of ITP-MΦ to promote the differentiation and development of megakaryocytes and platelet production. Sitagliptin was administered to a total of 56 patients with corticosteroid-resistant or relapsed ITP. Complete response and overall response were observed in 11 (19.6%) and 21 patients (37.5%), respectively.

Conclusions: A20 mediated the AMPK/mTOR/ULK1 signaling pathway to regulate autophagy in ITP-MΦ and affected megakaryopoiesis and platelet formation. Sitagliptin could restore the proper function of the A20-mediated AMPK/mTOR/ULK1 signaling pathway in ITP-MΦ, thus promoting megakaryopoiesis. Sitagliptin resulted in a sustained response in patients with corticosteroid-resistant/recurrent ITP and exhibited good safety.

Disclosures: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

*signifies non-member of ASH