The Liver Is a Site for Tumor-Induced Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cell Accumulation and Immunosuppression

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, Florida 33101, USA.
Cancer Research (Impact Factor: 9.33). 07/2009; 69(13):5514-21. DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-4625
Source: PubMed


Tumor-induced immunosuppression plays a key role in tumor evasion of the immune system. A key cell population recognized as myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) contributes and helps orchestrate this immunosuppression. MDSC can interact with T cells, macrophages, and natural killer cells to create an environment favorable for tumor progression. In various tumor models, their presence at high levels has been reported in the bone marrow, blood, spleen, and tumor. We report for the first time that MDSC accumulate and home to the liver in addition to the other organs. Liver MDSC suppress T cells and accumulate to levels comparable with splenic MDSC. Additionally, hematopoiesis in the liver contributes to the dramatic expansion of MDSC in this organ. Furthermore, MDSC in the liver interact with macrophages, also known as Kupffer cells, and cause their up-regulation of PD-L1, a negative T-cell costimulatory molecule. The liver is thus an organ in which MDSC accumulate and can contribute to immunosuppression directly and indirectly. MDSC play a role in various pathologic states in addition to cancer, and these results contribute to our understanding of their biology and interactions with immune-related cells.

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    • "In terms of sites of MDSC immunosuppressive activity, the available data are contradictory. Some authors suggest that lymphoid organs, including the liver, are the primary sites of MDSC accumulation and immunosuppression [30,52], while others emphasized effector sites, such as inflammatory sites and tumors, but not lymphoid organs, such as the spleen [31,53,29]. In terms of MDSC function during the efferent phase of tumor metastasis and related angiogenesis, accumulation of MDSCs in the lung, a metastatic target organ, supported the effective engraftment of metastatic tumor cells at this site [15,19,54]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction; Tumor cell interactions with the microenvironment, especially those of bone-marrow-derived myeloid cells, are important in various aspects of tumor metastasis. Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) have been suggested to constitute tumor-favoring microenvironments. In this study, we elucidated a novel mechanism by which the MDSCs can mediate spontaneous distant metastasis of breast cancer cells. Murine breast cancer cells, 4T1 and EMT6, were orthotopically grafted into the mammary fat pads of syngeneic BALB/c mice. CD11b+Gr-1+ MDSCs in the spleen, liver, lung, and primary tumor mass were analyzed. To evaluate the role of MDSCs in the distant metastasis, MDSCs were depleted or reconstituted in tumor-bearing mice. To evaluate whether MDSCs in the metastasizing tumor microenvironment affect breast cancer cell behavior, MDSCs and cancer cells were co-cultivated. To investigate the role of MDSCs in in vivo metastasis, we blocked the interactions between MDSCs and cancer cells. Using a murine breast cancer cell model, we showed that murine breast cancer cells with high IL-6 expression recruited more MDSCs, and that the metastasizing capacity of cancer cells paralleled MDSC recruitment in tumor-bearing mice. Metastasizing, but not non-metastasizing, tumor-derived factors induced MDSCs to increase IL-6 production and full activation of recruited MDSCs occurred in the primary tumor site and metastatic organ in the vicinity of metastasizing cancer cells, but not in lymphoid organs. In addition, tumor-expanded MDSCs expressed Adam-family proteases, which facilitated shedding of IL-6 receptor, thereby contributing to breast cancer cell invasiveness and distant metastasis through IL-6 trans-signaling. The critical role of IL-6 trans-signaling was confirmed in both the afferent and efferent pathways of metastasis. In this study, we showed that metastasizing cancer cells induced higher MDSCs infiltration and prompted them to secrete exaggerated IL-6 as well as soluble IL-6Ralpha, which, in turn, triggered persistent increase of pSTAT3 in tumor cells. This potential tumor-MDSC axis involving IL-6 trans-signaling directly affected breast cancer cell aggressiveness, leading to spontaneous metastasis.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · Breast cancer research: BCR
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    • "MDSC accumulate in spleen, blood and tumors of tumor-bearing animals [5]. Recently, they were also found in the liver of mice with subcutaneous tumors [6] [7]. MDSC suppress CD8 + [8] [9] [10] and CD4 + T cells [11] as well as NK [12] [13] cells through diverse mechanisms. "
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    ABSTRACT: Myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSC) are immature myeloid cells with immunosuppressive activity. They accumulate in tumor-bearing mice and humans with different types of cancer, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The aim of this study was to examine the biology of MDSC in murine HCC models and to identify a model, which mimics the human disease. The comparative analysis of MDSC was performed in mice, bearing transplantable, diethylnitrosoamine (DEN)-induced and MYC-expressing HCC at different ages. An accumulation of MDSC was found in mice with HCC irrespectively of the model tested. Transplantable tumors rapidly induced systemic recruitment of MDSC, in contrast to slow-growing DEN-induced or MYC-expressing HCC, where MDSC numbers only increased intra-hepatically in mice with advanced tumors. MDSC derived from mice with subcutaneous tumors were more suppressive than those from mice with DEN-induced HCC. Enhanced expression of genes associated with MDSC generation (GM-CSF, VEGF, IL-6, IL-1 and migration (MCP-1, KC, S100A8, S100A9) was observed in mice with subcutaneous tumors. In contrast, only KC levels increased in mice with DEN-induced HCC. Both KC and GM-CSF over-expression or anti-KC and anti-GM-CSF treatment controlled MDSC frequency in mice with HCC. Finally, the frequency of MDSC decreased upon successful anti-tumor treatment with sorafenib. Our data indicate that MDSC accumulation is a late event during hepatocarcinogenesis and differs significantly depending on the tumor model studied.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Journal of Hepatology
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    • "In a murine model of islet-transplantation in vivo, transfer of HSCs increased MDSC numbers [9], however, the exact mechanism by which this occurs could not be identified. As the frequency of HSCs increases during persistent inflammation and MDSCs are especially increased in liver diseases [10], we investigated whether human HSCs are involved in the induction of MDSCs. Here, we show that hepatic stellate cells can induce CD14 + HLA-DR À/low myeloid derived suppressor cells from mature peripheral blood monocytes. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background & aims: Myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) are a heterogeneous population of cells associated with the suppression of immunity. However, little is known about how or where MDSCs are induced and from which cells they originate. The liver is known for its immune regulatory functions. Here, we investigated the capacity of human hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) to transform peripheral blood monocytes into MDSCs. Methods: We cultured freshly isolated human monocytes from healthy donors on primary human HSCs or an HSC cell-line and characterized the phenotype and function of resulting CD14(+)HLA-DR(-/low) monocytes by flow cytometry, quantitative PCR, and functional assays. We analyzed the molecular mechanisms underlying the induction and function of the CD14(+)HLA-DR(-/low) cells by using blocking antibodies or knock-down technology. Results: Mature peripheral blood monocytes co-cultured with HSCs downregulated HLA-DR and developed a phenotypic and functional profile similar to MDSCs. Only activated but not freshly isolated HSCs were capable of inducing CD14(+)HLA-DR(-/low) cells. Such CD14(+)HLA-DR(-/low) monocyte-derived MDSCs suppressed T-cell proliferation in an arginase-1 dependent fashion. HSC-induced development of CD14(+)HLA-DR(-/low) monocyte-derived MDSCs was not mediated by soluble factors, but required physical interaction and was abrogated by blocking CD44. Conclusions: Our study shows that activated human HSCs convert mature peripheral blood monocytes into MDSCs. As HSCs are activated during chronic inflammation, the subsequent local induction of MDSCs may prevent ensuing excessive liver injury. HSC-induced MDSCs functionally and phenotypically resemble those isolated from liver cancer patients. Thus, our data suggest that local generation of MDSCs by liver-resident HSCs may contribute to immune suppression during inflammation and cancer in the liver.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · Journal of Hepatology
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