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4518 Galectin-1 Fuels Monocyte-Driven Hyperinflammation and Represents a Novel Therapeutic Target in Myeloproliferative Neoplasms

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 631. Myeloproliferative Syndromes and Chronic Myeloid Leukemia: Basic and Translational: Poster III
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Research, MPN, Translational Research, Chronic Myeloid Malignancies, Diseases, Myeloid Malignancies
Monday, December 11, 2023, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM

Fan He, PhD1, Tim Kong, MSc2, Shuyang Lin2*, Mary C. Fulbright2*, Angelo B. A. Laranjeira2*, Daniel A.C. Fisher2*, Maggie J Cox2*, Katrina Ashworth3*, Jorge Di Paola, MD3 and Stephen T. Oh, MD, PhD4

1Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, Saint Louis, MO
2Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO
3Department of Pediatrics, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO
4Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, Saint Louis, MO

JDP and STO co-corresponding authors

Previous studies by our group and others have demonstrated that monocytes play a key role in driving hyperinflammation in myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs), and that aberrant inflammatory cytokine signaling contributes to disease progression and poor prognosis in MPNs. To interrogate relationships between cellular sources and targets of inflammatory cytokines, we performed single cell RNA-seq (scRNA-seq) in PBMCs and progenitor cells from MPN patients and healthy controls. Monocytes from MPN patients displayed significant enrichment of inflammation-relevant genes as expected. Cell-cell communication networks inferred from expression of ligands and receptors predicted monocytes as a pivotal mediator of cell interactions. Further analysis revealed galectin signaling as one of the most robust input/output pathways for monocytes and significant enrichment of LGALS1 (galectin-1) expression in MPN monocytes.

Galectins are a class of proteins that bind specifically to β-galactoside carbohydrates, such as N-linked or O-linked glycosylated proteins. Abnormal expression of galectins in various cancers has been found to mediate broad biological functions, including cell proliferation, apoptosis, adhesion, and inflammation. However, the mechanisms by which galectins contribute to MPN pathogenesis remain incompletely understood.

To corroborate our sRNA-seq findings, we performed flow cytometry analysis which demonstrated elevated expression of galectin-1 in MPN patient CD14+ monocytes. Increased plasma levels of galectin-1 were also identified in MPN patients compared to healthy individuals. Higher galectin-1 protein levels in both Kit+ progenitor cells and CD11b+ myeloid cells from Jak2V617F knock-in mice were also observed when compared to wild type mice. Additionally, galectin-1 expression was induced by MPLW515L and JAK2V617F and inhibited by ruxolitinib in Ba/F3 cells. Thus, our results show enrichment of galectin-1 in both MPN patients and mouse models, with evidence of direct contribution from specific MPN driver mutations.

Our scRNA-seq dataset analysis showed significant correlations of galectin-1 expression with inflammatory and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) genes in MPN patient monocytes. To investigate the effects of galectin-1 in monocyte activation, we incubated CD14+ monocytes from MPN patients with recombinant galectin-1 (rGal-1) and observed markedly stimulated secretion of inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8 and TNF-α. Furthermore, OTX008, a galectin-1 inhibitor, inhibited the transcription and secretion of inflammatory cytokines in MPN patient CD14+ monocytes and monocytic cell lines. Notably, both genetic and pharmacologic inhibition of galectin-1 reduced cellular ATP level and oxygen consumption rate, suggesting a metabolic reprogramming in MPNs.

Although galectin-1 mediates broad biological functions, the molecular mechanisms by which galectin-1 regulates signaling pathways and transcription in MPN cells had not been delineated. Our scRNA-seq heterogeneity analysis suggested that genes in the PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathway were differentially expressed between galectin-1 high- and low-expressing monocytes. We therefore incubated both monocytic cell lines and monocytes from MPN patients with rGal-1 and observed stimulation of the PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathway, represented by increased levels of phosphorylated mTOR, AKT and S6. Consistently, genetic and pharmacologic inhibition of galectin-1 inhibited activation of the PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathway.

In summary, our results demonstrate upregulation of galectin-1 in MPN monocytes, potentially due to activation of JAK2-driven signaling. We further demonstrate that galectin-1 fuels inflammation potentially via metabolic reprogramming of monocytes and activation of PI3K-AKT-mTOR signaling. Our data also suggest galectin-1 as a putative therapeutic target in MPNs.

Disclosures: Di Paola: CSL Behring: Consultancy; Alnylam: Consultancy. Oh: CTI BioPharma, Bristol Myers Squibb, Disc Medicine, Blueprint Medicines, PharmaEssentia, Constellation/MorphoSys, Geron, AbbVie, Sierra Oncology/GSK, Cogent, Incyte, Morphic, Protagonist: Consultancy.

*signifies non-member of ASH