Peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL) is a biologically diverse lymphoid malignancy. The clinical aggressiveness associated with hemophagocytic syndrome (HS) is a characteristic of PTCL, being more distinctive in CD8+ PTCL. However, the underlying mechanism of PTCL-associated HS has not yet been fully investigated. We newly established a novel IL-2-dependent CD8+ PTCL lymphoma cell line (T8ML-1) from a patient with CD8+ PTCL who suffered recurrent HS accompanying disease flare-up. Focusing on the lymphoma cell T-cell receptor (TCR), we examined the lymphoma cell functions responsible for such clinical manifestations. First, T8ML-1.1 in which endogenous TCR-α/β chains were silenced by siRNAs, and T8ML-1.2 in which endogenous TCR-α/β chains were replaced with HLA-A 24:02-restricted and WT1235-243-specific TCR-α/β, were established. T8ML-1 exerted phytohemagglutinin (PHA)-dependent cytotoxicity via granular exocytosis. Additionally, soluble factors produced by PHA-stimulated T8ML-1, which included INF-γ and TNF-α, but not by simple-cultured T8ML-1, caused human monocytes to exhibit erythrophagocytosis and thrombophagocytosis in vitro. PHA binding induced phosphorylation of CD3ζ chain. Furthermore, both cytotoxicity and hemophagocytosis were completely inhibited by T8ML-1.1, but eventually restored by T8ML-1.2. These data suggest that exogenous activation of TCR signaling in PTCL cells might play an important role in the formation of PTCL-associated HS.
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