Journal Article

A dialog between glioma and microglia that promotes tumor invasiveness through the CCL2/CCR2/interleukin-6 axis

Jing Zhang, Susobhan Sarkar, Rowena Cua, Yan Zhou, Walter Hader and V. Wee Yong

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 33, issue 2, pages 312-319
Published in print February 2012 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online December 2011 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/bgr289
A dialog between glioma and microglia that promotes tumor invasiveness through the CCL2/CCR2/interleukin-6 axis

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Glioma cells in situ are surrounded by microglia, suggesting the potential of glioma–microglia interactions to produce various outcomes. As chemokines are important mediators of cell–cell communication, we sought first to identify commonly expressed chemokines in 16 human glioma lines. We found CCL2 (macrophage chemoattractant protein-1) messenger RNA to be expressed by the majority of glioma lines. However, these lines did not express the CCL2 receptor, CCR2, which was found on microglia. Next, we overexpressed CCL2 in the U87 glioma line, which has low basal level of CCL2, to investigate the hypothesis that glioma-secreted CCL2 interacts with microglia to affect glioma growth. Stable clones with 10- to 12-fold elevation of CCL2 have similar growth rate and invasive capacity as vector controls when cultured in isolation. However, in coculture with microglia in a three-dimensional collagen gel matrix, the invasiveness of CCL2-overexpressing clones was increased. Gene array analyses were then undertaken and they revealed that interleukin (IL)-6 was consistently increased in the coculture. Recombinant IL-6 enhanced the invasiveness of glioma cells when these were cultured alone, whereas a neutralizing antibody to IL-6 attenuated the microglia-stimulated glioma invasiveness. Finally, we found that human glioma specimens in situ contained IL-6 immunoreactivity that was expressed on CD68+ cells. This study has uncovered a mechanism by which glioma cells exploit microglia for increased invasiveness. Specifically, glioma-derived CCL2 acts upon CCR2-bearing microglia, which then produces IL-6 to stimulate gliomas. The CCL2/CCR2/IL-6 loop is a potential therapeutic target for the currently incurable malignant gliomas.

Journal Article.  4808 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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