Plasticity of High-Density Neutrophils in Multiple Myeloma is Associated with Increased Autophagy Via STAT3

In both monoclonal gammopathy of uncertain significance (MGUS) and multiple myeloma (MM) patients, immune functions are variably impaired, and there is a high risk of bacterial infections. Neutrophils are the most abundant circulating leukocytes and constitute the first line of host defense. Since little is known about the contribution of autophagy in the neutrophil function of MGUS and MM patients, we investigated the basal autophagy flux in freshly sorted neutrophils of patients and tested the plastic response of healthy neutrophils to soluble factors of MM. In freshly sorted high-density neutrophils obtained from patients with MGUS and MM or healthy subjects, we found a progressive autophagy trigger associated with soluble factors circulating in both peripheral blood and bone marrow, associated with increased IFNγ and pSTAT3S727. In normal high-density neutrophils, the formation of acidic vesicular organelles, a morphological characteristic of autophagy, could be induced after exposure for three hours with myeloma conditioned media or MM sera, an effect associated with increased phosphorylation of STAT3-pS727 and reverted by treatment with pan-JAK2 inhibitor ruxolitinib. Taken together, our data suggest that soluble factors in MM can trigger contemporary JAK2 signaling and autophagy in neutrophils, targetable with ruxolitinib.