The development of an in vivo model of drug-induced terminal differentiation of Leukaemic cells
The technique of growing human leukaemic cells in diffusion chambers was developed to enable chemicals to be assessed for their ability to induce terminal differentiation. HL-60 promyelocytic leukaemia cell growth, in a lucite chamber with a Millipore filter, was optimised by use of a lateral incision site. Chambers were constructed using 0.45um filters and contained 150ul of serum-free HL-60 cells at a density of 1x106 cells/ml. The chambers were implanted into CBA/Ca mice and spontaneous terminal differentiation of the cells to granulocytes was prevented by the use of serum-free medium. Under these conditions there was an initial growth lag of 72 hours and a logarithmic phase of growth for 96 hours; the cell number reached a plateau after 168 hours of culture in vivo. The amount of drug in the plasma of the animal and in chambers that had been implanted for 5 days, was determined after a single ip injection of equitoxic doses of N-methylformamide, N-ethylformamide, tetramethylurea, N-dibutylformamide, N-tetramethylbutylformamide and hexamethylenebisacetamide. Concentrations of both TMU and HMBA were obtained in the plasma and in the chamber which were pharmacologically effective for the induction of differentiation of HL-60 cells in vitro, that is 12mM TMU and 5mM HMBA. A 4 day regime of treatment of animals implanted with chambers demonstrated that TMU and HMBA induced terminal differentiation of 50% and 35%, respectively, of the implanted HL-60 cells to granulocyte-like cells, assessed by measurement of functional and biochemical markers of maturity. None of the other agents attained concentrations in the plasma that were pharmacologically effective for the induction of differentiation of the cells in vitro and were unable to induce the terminal differentiation of the cells in vivo.