Multiple myeloma (MM) is a cancer of bone marrow (BM) plasma cells, which is increasingly treatable but still incurable. In 90% of MM patients, severe osteolysis results from pathological interactions between MM cells and the bone microenvironment. Delineating specific molecules and pathways for their role in cancer supportive interactions in the BM is vital for developing new therapies. Very Late Antigen 4 (VLA4, integrin α4β1) is a key player in cell–cell adhesion and signaling between MM and BM cells. We evaluated a VLA4 selective near infrared fluorescent probe, LLP2A-Cy5, for in vitro and in vivo optical imaging of VLA4. Furthermore, two VLA4-null murine 5TGM1 MM cell (KO) clones were generated by CRISPR/Cas9 knockout of the Itga4 (α4) subunit, which induced significant alterations in the transcriptome. In contrast to the VLA4+ 5TGM1 parental cells, C57Bl/KaLwRij immunocompetent syngeneic mice inoculated with the VLA4-null clones showed prolonged survival, reduced medullary disease, and increased extramedullary disease burden. The KO tumor foci showed significantly reduced uptake of LLP2A-Cy5, confirming in vivo specificity of this imaging agent. This work provides new insights into the pathogenic role of VLA4 in MM, and evaluates an optical tool to measure its expression in preclinical models.

Original languageEnglish
Article number30
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


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