Myelofibrosis (MF) is a progressive chronic myeloproliferative neoplasm characterized by hyperactivation of JAK/STAT signaling and dysregulation of the transcription factor GATA1 in megakaryocytes (MKs). TGF-β plays a pivotal role in the pathobiology of MF by promoting BM fibrosis and collagen deposition and by enhancing the dormancy of normal hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). In this study, we show that MF-MKs elaborated significantly greater levels of TGF-β1 than TGF-β2 and TGF-β3 to a varying degree, and we evaluated the ability of AVID200, a potent TGF-β1/TGF-β3 protein trap, to block the excessive TGF-β signaling. Treatment of human mesenchymal stromal cells with AVID200 significantly reduced their proliferation, decreased phosphorylation of SMAD2, and interfered with the ability of TGF-β1 to induce collagen expression. Moreover, treatment of MF mononuclear cells with AVID200 led to increased numbers of progenitor cells (PCs) with WT JAK2 rather than mutated JAK2V617F. This effect of AVID200 on MF PCs was attributed to its ability to block TGF-β1–induced p57Kip2 expression and SMAD2 activation, thereby allowing normal rather than MF PCs to preferentially proliferate and form hematopoietic colonies. To assess the in vivo effects of AVID200, Gata1lo mice, a murine model of MF, were treated with AVID200, resulting in the reduction in BM fibrosis and an increase in BM cellularity. AVID200 treatment also increased the frequency and numbers of murine progenitor cells as well as short-term and long-term HSCs. Collectively, these data provide the rationale for TGF-β1 blockade, with AVID200 as a therapeutic strategy for patients with MF.
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