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The chemokine receptor, CXCR4, is involved in cancer growth, invasion, and metastasis. Several promising CXCR4 antagonists have been shown to halt tumor metastasis in preclinical studies, and clinical trials evaluating the effectiveness of these agents in patients with cancer are ongoing. However, the impact of targeting CXCR4 specifically on immune cells is not clear. Here, we demonstrate that genetic deletion of CXCR4 in myeloid cells (CXCR4) enhances the antitumor immune response, resulting in significantly reduced melanoma tumor growth. Moreover, CXCR4 mice exhibited slowed tumor progression compared with CXCR4 mice in an inducible melanocyte mouse model. The percentage of Fas ligand (FasL)-expressing myeloid cells was reduced in CXCR4 mice as compared with myeloid cells from CXCR4 mice. In contrast, there was an increased percentage of natural killer (NK) cells expressing FasL in tumors growing in CXCR4 mice. NK cells from CXCR4 mice also exhibited increased tumor cell killing capacity , based on clearance of NK-sensitive Yac-1 cells. NK cell-mediated killing of Yac-1 cells occurred in a FasL-dependent manner, which was partially dependent upon the presence of CXCR4 neutrophils. Furthermore, enhanced NK cell activity in CXCR4 mice was also associated with increased production of IL18 by specific leukocyte subpopulations. These data suggest that CXCR4-mediated signals from myeloid cells suppress NK cell-mediated tumor surveillance and thereby enhance tumor growth. Systemic delivery of a peptide antagonist of CXCR4 to tumor-bearing CXCR4 mice resulted in enhanced NK-cell activation and reduced tumor growth, supporting potential clinical implications for CXCR4 antagonism in some cancers. .
©2018 American Association for Cancer Research.
BACKGROUND - Bronchial epithelial damage and activation likely contribute to the inflammatory and airway-remodeling events characteristic of severe asthma. Interaction of Fas receptor (CD95) with its ligand (FasL; CD95L) is an important mechanism of cell-mediated apoptosis. Bronchial epithelial FasL expression provides immune barrier protection from immune cell-mediated damage.
OBJECTIVES - Membrane FasL (mFasL) is a cleavage target of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). We investigated whether the asthmatic T(H)2 environment might influence disease processes by increasing airway epithelial MMP-mediated cleavage of mFasL into proinflammatory soluble FasL.
METHODS - We used human airway epithelial cell lines and primary cells to model the human airway epithelium in vitro. Airway tissue from healthy subjects and patients with severe asthma was used to investigate MMP expression patterns in diseased airways.
RESULTS - We demonstrate that active MMP-7 is present in the ciliated epithelial cells of normal human airways. In patients with severe asthma, MMP-7 levels are increased in basal epithelial cells. Airway epithelial cell lines (1HAEo(-) and 16HBE14o(-)) in vitro express constitutively high levels of MMP-2 and MMP-9 but relatively low levels of MMP-7. T(H)2 cytokine (IL-4, IL-9, and IL-13) treatment of 1HAEo(-) cells increased MMP-7 mRNA and activity, triggered colocalization of intracellular MMP-7 with FasL, and caused mFasL cleavage with soluble FasL release. Small interfering RNA knockdown shows that cytokine-induced mFasL cleavage is dependent on MMP-7 activity.
CONCLUSIONS - MMPs serve multiple beneficial roles in the lung. However, chronic disordered epithelial expression of MMP-7 in patients with asthma might increase mFasL cleavage and contribute to airway epithelial damage and inflammation.
Copyright 2010 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.
IFN regulatory factor 8 (IRF8) has been shown to suppress tumor development at least partly through regulating apoptosis of tumor cells; however, the molecular mechanisms underlying IRF8 regulation of apoptosis are still not fully understood. Here, we showed that disrupting IRF8 function resulted in inhibition of cytochrome c release, caspase-9 and caspase-3 activation, and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage in soft tissue sarcoma (STS) cells. Inhibition of the mitochondrion-dependent apoptosis signaling cascade is apparently due to blockage of caspase-8 and Bid activation. Analysis of signaling events upstream of caspase-8 revealed that disrupting IRF8 function dramatically increases FLIP mRNA stability, resulting in increased IRF8 protein level. Furthermore, primary myeloid cells isolated from IRF8-null mice also exhibited increased FLIP protein level, suggesting that IRF8 might be a general repressor of FLIP. Nuclear IRF8 protein was absent in 92% (55 of 60) of human STS specimens, and 99% (59 of 60) of human STS specimens exhibited FLIP expression, suggesting that the nuclear IRF8 protein level is inversely correlated with FLIP level in vivo. Silencing FLIP expression significantly increased human sarcoma cells to both FasL-induced and tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)-induced apoptosis, and ectopic expression of IRF8 also significantly increased the sensitivity of these human sarcoma cells to FasL- and TRAIL-induced apoptosis. Taken together, our data suggest that IRF8 mediates FLIP expression level to regulate apoptosis and targeting IRF8 expression is a potentially effective therapeutic strategy to sensitize apoptosis-resistant human STS to apoptosis, thereby possibly overcoming chemoresistance of STS, currently a major obstacle in human STS therapy.
Glaucomatous optic neuropathy causes blindness through the degeneration of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and their axons, which comprise the optic nerve. Glaucoma traditionally is associated with elevated intraocular pressure, but often occurs or may progress with intraocular pressure in the normal range. Like other diseases of the CNS, a subset of glaucoma has been proposed to involve an autoimmune component to help explain the loss of RGCs in the absence of elevated intraocular pressure. One hypothesis involves heat shock proteins (HSPs), because increased serum levels of HSP autoantibodies are prominent in some glaucoma patients with normal pressures. In the first direct support of this hypothesis, we found that HSP27 and HSP60 immunization in the Lewis rat induced RGC degeneration and axon loss 1-4 months later in vivo in a pattern with similarities to human glaucoma, including topographic specificity of cell loss. Infiltration of increased numbers of T-cells in the retina occurred much earlier, 14-21 d after HSP immunization, and appeared to be transient. In vitro studies found that T-cells activated by HSP immunization induced RGC apoptosis via the release of the inflammatory cytokine FasL, whereas HSP immunization induced activation of microglia cells and upregulation of the FasL receptor in RGCs. In summary, our results suggest that RGC degeneration in glaucoma for selected individuals likely involves failed immunoregulation of the T-cell-RGC axis and is thus a disturbance of both proapoptotic and protective pathways.
BACKGROUND - Helicobacter pylori infection induces a biased T helper type 1 (Th1) response that produces IFN-gamma and Fas ligand (FasL). Th1 cytokines are associated with apoptosis in the gastric epithelial cells.
AIM - We aimed to define the role of the recently cloned IL-18, a IFN-gamma inducing factor, in gastric mucosal injury induced by H. pylori infection.
METHODS - Twenty-seven gastric ulcer (GU) patients and 20 functional dyspepsia (FD) patients were enrolled in this study. Mucosal biopsy samples were obtained from the gastric antrum and GU site during endoscopy. Samples were used for histological examination, H. pylori culture and in-situ stimulation for 48 h in the presence of 10 microg/ml phytohemagglutinin-P. IL-18, IFN-gamma, and soluble FasL (sFasL) levels in culture supernatants were assayed by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay method. IL-18, IL-1beta-converting enzyme (ICE) and caspase-3 were evaluated by western blotting in gastric cancer cell lines (MKN45) cocultured with H. pylori.
RESULTS - All 27 GU patients and ten out of 20 FD patients were found to be H. pylori-positive, whereas ten FD patients were H. pylori-negative. Antral mucosal tissues from H. pylori-positive FD patients contained (P<0.01) higher levels of IL-18, IFN-gamma, and sFasL than those from uninfected FD patients. IL-18, IFN-gamma, and sFasL levels at the ulcer site were significantly (P<0.01) higher than those at distant sites in the antrum. A significant relationship was seen between IL-18 and IFN-gamma levels at the ulcer site (r=0.7, P<0.01). H. pylori eradication led to a significant decrease in the levels of IL-18, IFN-gamma, and sFasL at the ulcer site. Western blotting showed that IL-18, ICE, and caspase-3 were activated in gastric cancer cell lines cocultured with H. pylori.
CONCLUSION - This study suggests that H. pylori infection enhanced mucosal injury by stimulating a Th1 response, which was mediated by IL-18 upregulation as well as activation of ICE and caspase-3.
Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells belong to a subset of lymphocytes bridging innate and acquired immunity. We demonstrated that osteopontin (OPN) is involved in the activation of iNKT cells. In the present work, we examined whether OPN affects development and function of iNKT cells. We found that the number of peripheral iNKT cells was significantly reduced in OPN-deficient mice compared with wild-type mice. Although the number of thymic iNKT cells was not different between WT and OPN-deficient mice, intrathymic iNKT cell maturation was impaired in OPN-deficient mice. iNKT cell function was also significantly altered in OPN-deficient mice, as evidenced by (i) deficient down-regulation of iNKT cell receptor, (ii) reduction of IL-4 production while preserving production of IFN-gamma, and (iii) reduction of Fas ligand (FasL) expression, leading to reduced Fas/FasL-dependent cytotoxicity against hepatocytes. Importantly, activation of the transcription factors NFAT2 (nuclear factor of activated T cells 2) and GATA-3 was impaired, whereas activation of T-bet was preserved in iNKT cells of OPN-deficient mice. These data collectively indicate that OPN plays a pivotal role not only in the development, but also in the function of iNKT cells.
Antigen-presenting cells (APCs) control T-cell responses by multiple mechanisms, including the expression of co-stimulatory molecules and the production of cytokines and other mediators that control T-cell proliferation, survival and differentiation. Here, we demonstrate that soluble factor(s) produced by Toll-like receptor (TLR)-activated APCs suppress activation-induced cell death (AICD). This effect was observed in non-stimulated APCs, but it was significantly increased after lipopolysaccharide (LPS) treatment. Using different KO mice, we found that the LPS-induced protective factor is dependent on TLR4/MyD88. We identified the protective factor as prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) and showed that both APC-derived supernatants and PGE(2) prevented CD95L upregulation in T cells in response to TCR/CD3 stimulation, thereby avoiding both AICD and activated T cell killing of target macrophages. The PGE(2) receptors, EP2 and EP4, appear to be involved since pharmacological stimulation of these receptors mimics the protective effect on T cells and their respective antagonists interfere with the protection induced by either APCs derived or synthetic PGE(2). Finally, the engagement of EP2 and EP4 synergistically activates protein kinase A (PKA) and exchange protein directly activated by cAMP pathways to prevent AICD. Taken together, these results indicate that APCs can regulate T-cell levels of CD95L by releasing PGE(2) in response to LPS through a TLR4/MyD88-dependent pathway, with consequences for both T cell and their own survival.
Androgen withdrawal induces the regression of human prostate cancers, but such cancers eventually become androgen-independent and metastasize. Thus, deciphering the mechanism of androgen withdrawal-induced apoptosis is critical to designing new therapies for prostate cancer. Previously, we showed that in the rat, castration-induced apoptosis is accompanied by a reduction in the expression of the apical caspase inhibitor FLICE-like inhibitory protein (FLIP). To test the functional role of FLIP in inhibiting prostate epithelial cell apoptosis, we employed the rat prostate epithelial cell line NRP-152, which differentiates to a secretory phenotype in a low-mitogen medium and then undergoes apoptosis following the addition of transforming growth factor beta1 (TGFbeta1), mimicking androgen withdrawal-induced apoptosis. FLIP levels decline with TGFbeta1 treatment, suggesting that apoptosis is mediated by caspase-8 and indeed the caspase inhibitor crmA blocks TGFbeta1-induced apoptosis. Small interfering RNA-mediated knockdown of FLIP recapitulates and enhances TGFbeta1-induced cell death. NRP-152 cells stably transfected with constitutively expressed FLIP were refractory to TGFbeta1-induced apoptosis. TGFbeta1-induced caspase-3 activity is proportional to the level of cell death and inversely proportional to the level of FLIP expression in various clones. Moreover, neither caspase-3 nor PARP is cleaved in clones expressing high levels of FLIP. Furthermore, insulin, which inhibits differentiation, increases FLIP and inhibits TGFbeta-induced death in a FLIP-dependent manner. Although neither Fas-Fc, sTNFRII-Fc, nor DR5-Fc blocked TGFbeta1-induced cell death, there is a significant increase in tumor necrosis factor mRNA following TGFbeta stimulation, suggesting both an unexpected role for tumor necrosis factor in this model system and the possibility that FLIP blocks another unknown caspase-dependent mediator of apoptosis.
Fas ligand (FasL/CD95L), a member of the tumor necrosis factor family, interacts with a specific receptor Fas, ultimately leading to cell death. Tumor expression of FasL has been proposed to aid in immune evasion through a "Fas counterattack" mechanism but has also been described as a proinflammatory factor. Here, we tested the role of FasL in a mouse model of spontaneous tumor development. We used the Min mouse in which multiple benign polyps develop in the intestine due to a mutation in the Apc tumor suppressor gene. Mutant mice deficient in functional FasL, termed gld/gld, were crossed to Min mice to generate tumor-prone animals lacking functional FasL. Comparison of FasL-deficient versus proficient Min mice revealed a significant increase in polyp number in the gld/gld mice. We next assessed immune cell infiltration into adenomas. There was no difference in the number of either lymphocytes or macrophages; however, the number of tumor-infiltrating neutrophils was 3-fold lower in the gld/gld specimens compared with controls. Neutrophil migration in vitro was stimulated by wild-type but not mutant FasL. In a nontumor-bearing colitis model in vivo, neutrophil recruitment to the intestine was also reduced in gld/gld mice. Although the Fas counterattack hypothesis suggests that the absence of FasL would result in increased immune-mediated tumor elimination, the opposite is true in the Min model with lack of functional FasL associated with reduced neutrophil influx and increased tumor development. Thus, the proinflammatory rather than counterattack role of tumor FasL is more relevant.
Erythropoietin (Epo) is the principal regulator of the erythropoietic response to hypoxic stress, through its receptor, EpoR. The EpoR signals mediating the stress response are largely unknown, and the spectrum of progenitors that are stress responsive is not fully defined. Here, we used flow cytometry to identify stress-responsive Ter119+CD71highFSChigh early erythroblast subsets in vivo. In the mouse spleen, an erythropoietic reserve organ, early erythroblasts were present at lower frequencies and were undergoing higher rates of apoptosis than equivalent cells in bone marrow. A high proportion of splenic early erythroblasts coexpressed the death receptor Fas, and its ligand, FasL. Fas-positive early erythroblasts were significantly more likely to coexpress annexin V than equivalent, Fas-negative cells, suggesting that Fas mediates early erythroblast apoptosis in vivo. We examined several mouse models of erythropoietic stress, including erythrocytosis and beta-thalassemia. We found a dramatic increase in the frequency of splenic early erythroblasts that correlated with down-regulation of Fas and FasL from their cell surface. Further, a single injection of Epo specifically suppressed early erythroblast Fas and FasL mRNA and cell-surface expression. Therefore, Fas and FasL are negative regulators of erythropoiesis. Epo-mediated suppression of erythroblast Fas and FasL is a novel stress response pathway that facilitates erythroblast expansion in vivo.