Access to follicular dendritic cells Is a pivotal step in murine chronic lymphocyticleukemia B-cell activation and proliferation.
In human chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) pathogenesis, B-cell antigen receptor signaling seems important for leukemia B-cell ontogeny, whereas the microenvironment influences B-cell activation, tumor cell lodging, and provision of antigenic stimuli. Using the murine Eμ-Tcl1 CLL model, we demonstrate that CXCR5-controlled access to follicular dendritic cells confers proliferative stimuli to leukemia B cells. Intravital imaging revealed a marginal zone B cell-like leukemia cell trafficking route. Murine and human CLL cells reciprocally stimulated resident mesenchymal stromal cells through lymphotoxin-β-receptor activation, resulting in CXCL13 secretion and stromal compartment remodeling. Inhibition of lymphotoxin/lymphotoxin-β-receptor signaling or of CXCR5 signaling retards leukemia progression. Thus, CXCR5 activity links tumor cell homing, shaping a survival niche, and access to localized proliferation stimuli.