Fol. Biol. 2018, 64, 16-22

Lactoferrin Prevents Susceptibility of WEHI 231 Cells to Anti-Ig-Induced Cell Death Promoting Cell Differentiation

E. Zaczyńska1, I. Kochanowska1, M. Kruzel2, Michał Zimecki1

1Department of Experimental Therapy, Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy, Polish Academy of Sciences, Wroclaw, Poland
2McGovern Medical School, University of Texas, Health Science Center, Houston, Texas, USA

Received October 2017
Accepted April 2018

Immature B cells are susceptible to apoptosis due to ligation of surface immunoglobulin receptors. The WEHI 231 cell line represents a useful model to study the mode of action of factors preventing apoptosis. In this work we investigated the protective effects of multi-species lactoferrins in anti-mouse Ig-induced WEHI 231 cell death. Bovine milk-derived lactoferrin (bLF), recombinant human lactoferrin expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells – rhLF(CHO) or in human endothelial kidney cells – rhLF(HEK), and recombinant mouse lactoferrin expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells – rmLF(CHO), were used. Goat-anti-mouse Ig antibodies were used to induce cell apoptosis. Survival of WEHI 231 cells in culture was measured using the colorimetric MTT method. Expression of signalling molecules and subunits of interleukin 2 receptor was determined by the RT PCR method. The results showed that anti-mouse Ig antibodies inhibited cell growth in a dose-dependent manner. The lactoferrins alone had no effect on the cell survival. The cells exposed to LFs, prior to anti-Ig treatment, were rescued to a significant degree from cell death. Determination of the signalling molecule expression revealed almost complete suppression of caspase-3 and NF-κB1 by bLF in untreated cells, as well as deep suppression of caspase-3, block of Fas, and 4-fold increase of NF-κB1 in cells incubated with bLF prior to anti-Ig treatment. In addition, differential changes in the expression of interleukin 2 subunits upon bLF treatment were found, indicating a process of cell differentiation. In conclusion, we showed that LF-induced cell differentiation in immature B-cell line WEHI 231 was correlated with partial protection of the cells from anti-Ig-induced cell death.


This work was supported by the statutory grant from the Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy, Polish Academy of Sciences, Wrocław, No 501-4/2017 and by the Association for Research and Treatment of Sepsis – “Overcome Sepsis”.


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