Expanded circulating hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells as novel cell source or the treatment of TCIRG1 osteopetrosis

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Capo V., Penna S., Merelli I., Barcella M., Scala S., Basso-Ricci L., ...More

HAEMATOLOGICA, vol.106, no.1, pp.74-86, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 106 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.3324/haematol.2019.238261
  • Journal Name: HAEMATOLOGICA
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, BIOSIS, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Page Numbers: pp.74-86
  • Gazi University Affiliated: Yes


Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is the treatment of choice for autosomal recessive osteopetrosis caused by defects in the TCIRG1 gene. Despite recent progress in conditioning, an important number of patients are not eligible for allogeneic stem cell transplantation because of the severity of the disease and significant transplant-related morbidity. We exploited peripheral CD34(+) cells, known to circulate at high frequency in the peripheral blood of TCIRG1-deficient patients, as a novel cell source for autologous transplantation of gene corrected cells. Detailed phenotypical analysis showed that circulating CD34(+). cells have a cellular composition that resembles bone marrow (BM), supporting their use in gene therapy protocols. Transcriptomic profile revealed enrichment in genes expressed by hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPC). To overcome the limit of BM harvest/HSPC mobilization and serial blood drawings in TCIRG1 patients, we applied UM171-based ex vivo expansion of HSPC coupled with lentiviral gene transfer. Circulating CD34(+). cells from TCIRG1-defective patients were transduced with a clinically-optimized lentiviral vector expressing TCIRG1 under the control of phosphoglycerate promoter and expanded ex vivo. Expanded cells maintained long-term engraftment capacity and multi-lineage repopulating potential when transplanted in vivo both in primary and secondary NOD scid gamma common chain (NSG) recipients. Moreover, when CD34(+) cells were differentiated in vitro, genetically corrected osteoclasts resorbed the bone efficiently. Overall, we provide evidence that expansion of circulating HSPC coupled to gene therapy can overcome the limit of stem cell harvest in osteopetrotic patients, thus opening the way to future gene-based treatment of skeletal diseases caused by BM fibrosis.