Prostaglandin E2 induces apoptosis in immature normal and malignant B lymphocytes

Deborah M. Brown, Garvin L. Warner, JoséE E. Alés-Martínez, David W. Scott, Richard P. Phipps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


The purpose of this research was to determine whether prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), a major product of macrophages which can kill certain murine B cell lymphomas, induces death by a necrotic mechanism or by an alternate pathway called apoptosis. CH31 is a phenotypically "immature" B cell lymphoma which resembles immature neonatal B cells in its susceptibility to killing by reagents which cross-link surface immunoglobulin (sIg). In the present study we first show that PGE2, but not the closely related prostanoid, PGF, kills CH31 lymphoma cells. In contrast, CH12, a phenotypically "mature" lymphoma which is not negatively affected by sIg cross-linking, is not induced to die after exposure to PGE2. Agarose gel electrophoresis demonstrated that the DNA of PGE2-treated CH31, but not CH12 cells, is cleaved into characteristic 200 base pair oligonucleosomal fragments indicative of an apoptotic mechanism of death. However, a necrotic form of death, indicated by random DNA cleavage which produces a smear following electrophoresis, could be induced by treatment of CH12 or CH31 with anti-class II MHC antibodies and complement. The apoptotic mechanism of CH31 cell killing by PGE2 was confirmed using scanning electron microscopy which demonstrated the unique membrane blebbing and bubbling pathognomonic of this form of death. Finally, using a recently devised flow cytometric method to study apoptosis in heterogeneous cell populations, we compared the ability of anti-IgM, PGE2, or PGF to induce apoptosis in B lymphocytes from neonatal or adult mice. Anti-IgM, and to a lesser extent PGE2, but not PGF, induces apoptosis in a fraction of neonatal B cells. None of these treatments induced cell death in B lymphocytes from mature mice. Overall, these observations suggest that PGE-secreting cells such as macrophages, which inhabit the B cell microenvironments of lymphoid organs, may eliminate a subset of immature B lymphocytes and may be important in controlling the spread of PGE-sensitive malignant B lymphoma cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-229
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Immunology and Immunopathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Immunology


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