Stimulation of the midkine/ALK axis renders glioma cells resistant to cannabinoid antitumoral action.
ABSTRACT: Identifying the molecular mechanisms responsible for the resistance of gliomas to anticancer treatments is an issue of great therapeutic interest. ?(9)-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the major active ingredient of marijuana, and other cannabinoids inhibit tumor growth in animal models of cancer, including glioma, an effect that relies, at least in part, on the stimulation of autophagy-mediated apoptosis in tumor cells. Here, by analyzing the gene expression profile of a large series of human glioma cells with different sensitivity to cannabinoid action, we have identified a subset of genes specifically associated to THC resistance. One of these genes, namely that encoding the growth factor midkine (Mdk), is directly involved in the resistance of glioma cells to cannabinoid treatment. We also show that Mdk mediates its protective effect via the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) receptor and that Mdk signaling through ALK interferes with cannabinoid-induced autophagic cell death. Furthermore, in vivo Mdk silencing or ALK pharmacological inhibition sensitizes cannabinod-resistant tumors to THC antitumoral action. Altogether, our findings identify Mdk as a pivotal factor involved in the resistance of glioma cells to THC pro-autophagic and antitumoral action, and suggest that selective targeting of the Mdk/ALK axis could help to improve the efficacy of antitumoral therapies for gliomas.
Project description:Glioblastoma (GBM) is one of the most aggressive forms of cancer. It has been proposed that the presence within these tumors of a population of cells with stem-like features termed Glioma Initiating Cells (GICs) is responsible for the relapses that take place in the patients with this disease. Targeting this cell population is therefore an issue of great therapeutic interest in neuro-oncology. We had previously found that the neurotrophic factor MIDKINE (MDK) promotes resistance to glioma cell death. The main objective of this work is therefore investigating the role of MDK in the regulation of GICs. Methods: Assays of gene and protein expression, self-renewal capacity, autophagy and apoptosis in cultures of GICs derived from GBM samples subjected to different treatments. Analysis of the growth of GICs-derived xenografts generated in mice upon blockade of the MDK and its receptor the ALK receptor tyrosine kinase (ALK) upon exposure to different treatments. Results: Genetic or pharmacological inhibition of MDK or ALK decreases the self-renewal and tumorigenic capacity of GICs via the autophagic degradation of the transcription factor SOX9. Blockade of the MDK/ALK axis in combination with temozolomide depletes the population of GICs in vitro and has a potent anticancer activity in xenografts derived from GICs. Conclusions: The MDK/ALK axis regulates the self-renewal capacity of GICs by controlling the autophagic degradation of the transcription factor SOX9. Inhibition of the MDK/ALK axis may be a therapeutic strategy to target GICs in GBM patients.
Project description:Autophagy can promote cell survival or cell death, but the molecular basis underlying its dual role in cancer remains obscure. Here we demonstrate that delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main active component of marijuana, induces human glioma cell death through stimulation of autophagy. Our data indicate that THC induced ceramide accumulation and eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2alpha (eIF2alpha) phosphorylation and thereby activated an ER stress response that promoted autophagy via tribbles homolog 3-dependent (TRB3-dependent) inhibition of the Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) axis. We also showed that autophagy is upstream of apoptosis in cannabinoid-induced human and mouse cancer cell death and that activation of this pathway was necessary for the antitumor action of cannabinoids in vivo. These findings describe a mechanism by which THC can promote the autophagic death of human and mouse cancer cells and provide evidence that cannabinoid administration may be an effective therapeutic strategy for targeting human cancers.
Project description:Midkine (MDK) expression is associated with the proliferation of many cancers, including glioma. However, the upstream signaling that leads to MDK accumulation remains elusive. This study investigates the molecular mechanism that induces MDK overexpression in human glioma. The Repository for Molecular Brain Neoplasia Data was analyzed to identify potential MDK regulators. Expression of MDK and specificity protein 1 (SP1) was compared in glioma specimens. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assay was used to confirm the transcriptional regulation. MDK-force-expressed, SP1-silenced glioma cells were used to test rescue effects in vitro and in vivo. MDK and SP1 expression in gliomas was significantly higher than in adjacent tissues and was positively correlated in glioma clinical samples and cell lines. The promoter of the human MDK gene has a putative SP1 binding site. SP1 binds to the promoter of the MDK gene and directly regulates MDK expression. MDK or SP1 gene silencing inhibited the proliferation of glioma cells and reduced the tumor volume in nude mice. Overexpression of MDK in SP1-silenced cells could partially rescue the SP1 inhibition effects in vivo and in vitro. SP1 directly up-regulated the expression of MDK, and the SP1-MDK axis cooperated in glioma tumorigenesis.
Project description:BACKGROUND:High-grade primary glioma have poor prognosis and predictive biomarkers is very important. Midkine (MDK), a heparin-binding growth factor, is important in regulating carcinogenesis, cell proliferation, mitogenesis, and angiogenesis. This study aimed to identify over-expression of MDK in gliomas and correlate this with clinical outcomes. The authors put forward their hypothesis correlating proliferation and poor survival with over-expression of this novel protein. METHODS:Two datasets from Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) included human data of 100 and 180 patients, respectively. The MDK expression, World Health Organization (WHO) pathological grade, sex, age, and survival time were identified for statistical analysis. RESULTS:A search of the GEO profile revealed that MDK expression level was statistically greater in the WHO grade IV compared with grade II (P = 0.002), in grades III and IV compared with nontumor control (P = 0.044 and P < 0.001, respectively) after adjustments using the Bonferroni method. By the Kaplan-Meier survival curve, the high MDK expression group had poorer survival outcome (2.38-fold hazard, 95% confidence interval: 1.22-4.63) than the low MDK expression group after adjustments for WHO grade and age. CONCLUSIONS:Taken together, there is a positive correlation between MDK expression and WHO grading of human gliomas. Moreover, MDK over-expression is significant correlated to poor survival outcome in high-grade, suggesting that MDK may be an important therapeutic target.
Project description:Delta(9)-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabinoids have been shown to induce apoptosis of glioma cells via ceramide generation. In the present study, we investigated the metabolic origin of the ceramide responsible for this cannabinoid-induced apoptosis by using two subclones of C6 glioma cells: C6.9, which is sensitive to THC-induced apoptosis; and C6.4, which is resistant to THC-induced apoptosis. Pharmacological inhibition of ceramide synthesis de novo, but not of neutral and acid sphingomyelinases, prevented THC-induced apoptosis in C6.9 cells. The activity of serine palmitoyltransferase (SPT), which catalyses the rate-limiting step of ceramide synthesis de novo, was remarkably enhanced by THC in C6.9 cells, but not in C6.4 cells. However, no major changes in SPT mRNA and protein levels were evident. Changes in SPT activity paralleled changes in ceramide levels. Pharmacological inhibition of ceramide synthesis de novo also prevented the stimulation of extracellular-signal-regulated kinase and the inhibition of protein kinase B triggered by cannabinoids. These findings show that de novo-synthesized ceramide is involved in cannabinoid-induced apoptosis of glioma cells.
Project description:Glioma is the most frequent and aggressive type of brain neoplasm, being anaplastic astrocytoma (AA) and glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), its most malignant forms. The survival rate in patients with these neoplasms is 15 months after diagnosis, despite a diversity of treatments, including surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. The resistance of GBM to various therapies is due to a highly mutated genome; these genetic changes induce a de-regulation of several signaling pathways and result in higher cell proliferation rates, angiogenesis, invasion, and a marked resistance to apoptosis; this latter trait is a hallmark of highly invasive tumor cells, such as glioma cells. Due to a defective apoptosis in gliomas, induced autophagic death can be an alternative to remove tumor cells. Paradoxically, however, autophagy in cancer can promote either a cell death or survival. Modulating the autophagic pathway as a death mechanism for cancer cells has prompted the use of both inhibitors and autophagy inducers. The autophagic process, either as a cancer suppressing or inducing mechanism in high-grade gliomas is discussed in this review, along with therapeutic approaches to inhibit or induce autophagy in pre-clinical and clinical studies, aiming to increase the efficiency of conventional treatments to remove glioma neoplastic cells.
Project description:BACKGROUND:DNA damage repair (DDR) alterations are important events in cancer initiation, progression, and therapeutic resistance. However, the involvement of DDR alterations in glioma malignancy needs further investigation. This study aims to characterize the clinical and molecular features of gliomas with DDR alterations and elucidate the biological process of DDR alterations that regulate the cross talk between gliomas and the tumor microenvironment. METHODS:Integrated transcriptomic and genomic analyses were undertaken to conduct a comprehensive investigation of the role of DDR alterations in glioma. The prognostic DDR-related cytokines were identified from multiple datasets. In vivo and in vitro experiments validated the role of p53, the key molecule of DDR, regulating M2 polarization of microglia in glioma. FINDINGS:DDR alterations are associated with clinical and molecular characteristics of glioma. Gliomas with DDR alterations exhibit distinct immune phenotypes, and immune cell types and cytokine processes. DDR-related cytokines have an unfavorable prognostic implication for GBM patients and are synergistic with DDR alterations. Overexpression of MDK mediated by p53, the key transcriptional factor in DDR pathways, remodels the GBM immunosuppressive microenvironment by promoting M2 polarization of microglia, suggesting a potential role of DDR in regulating the glioma microenvironment. INTERPRETATION:Our work suggests that DDR alterations significantly contribute to remodeling the glioma microenvironment via regulating the immune response and cytokine pathways. FUND: This study was supported by: 1. The National Key Research and Development Plan (No. 2016YFC0902500); 2. National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81702972, No. 81874204, No. 81572701, No. 81772666); 3. China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2018M640305); 4. Special Fund Project of Translational Medicine in the Chinese-Russian Medical Research Center (No. CR201812); 5. The Research Project of the Chinese Society of Neuro-oncology, CACA (CSNO-2016-MSD12); 6. The Research Project of the Health and Family Planning Commission of Heilongjiang Province (2017-201); and 7. Harbin Medical University Innovation Fund (2017LCZX37, 2017RWZX03).
Project description:High grade gliomas are the most common brain tumors in adult. These tumors are characterized by a high infiltration in microglial cells and macrophages. The immunosuppressive tumor environment is known to orient immune cells toward a pro-tumoral and anti-inflammatory phenotype. Therefore, the current challenge for cancer therapy is to find a way to reorient macrophages toward an antitumoral phenotype. Previously, we demonstrated that macrophages secreted antitumoral factors when they were invalidated for the proprotein converstase 1/3 (PC1/3) and treated with LPS. However, achieving an activation of macrophages via LPS/TLR4/Myd88-dependent pathway appears yet unfeasible in cancer patients. On the contrary, the antitumor drug Paclitaxel is also known to activate the TLR4 MyD88-dependent signaling pathway and mimics LPS action. Therefore, we evaluated if PC1/3 knock-down (KD) macrophages could be activated by Paclitaxel and efficient against glioma. We report here that such a treatment of PC1/3 KD macrophages drove to the overexpression of proteins mainly involved in cytoskeleton rearrangement. In support of this finding, we found that these cells exhibited a Ca2+ increase after Paclitaxel treatment. This is indicative of a possible depolymerization of microtubules and may therefore reflect an activation of inflammatory pathways in macrophages. In such a way, we found that PC1/3 KD macrophages displayed a repression of the anti-inflammatory pathway STAT3 and secreted more pro-inflammatory cytokines. Extracellular vesicles isolated from these PC1/3 KD cells inhibited glioma growth. Finally, the supernatant collected from the coculture between glioma cells and PC1/3 KD macrophages contained more antitumoral factors. These findings unravel the potential value of a new therapeutic strategy combining Paclitaxel and PC1/3 inhibition to switch macrophages toward an antitumoral immunophenotype.
Project description:Midkine (MDK) and Pleiotrophin (PTN) are small heparin-binding cytokines with closely related structures. The Drosophila genome harbours two genes encoding members of the MDK/PTN family of proteins, known as miple1 and miple2. We have investigated the role of Miple proteins in vivo, in particular with regard to their proposed role as ligands for the Alk receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK). Here we show that Miple proteins are neither required to drive Alk signaling during Drosophila embryogenesis, nor are they essential for development in the fruit fly. Additionally we show that neither MDK nor PTN can activate hALK in vivo when ectopically co-expressed in the fly. In conclusion, our data suggest that Alk is not activated by MDK/PTN related growth factors Miple1 and Miple 2 in vivo.
Project description:Glioblastomas (GBMs) are aggressive brain tumors with frequent genetic alterations in <i>TP53</i> and <i>PTEN</i> tumor suppressor genes rendering resistance to standard chemotherapeutics. Cannabinoid type 1 and 2 (CB1/CB2) receptor expression in GBMs and antitumor activity of cannabinoids in glioma cells and animal models, raised promises for a targeted treatment of these tumors. The susceptibility of human glioma cells to CB2-agonists and their mechanism of action are not fully elucidated. We determined CB1 and CB2 expression in 14 low-grade and 21 high-grade tumor biopsies, GBM-derived primary cultures and established cell lines. The non-selective CB receptor agonist WIN55,212-2 (but not its inactive enantiomer) or the CB2-selective agonist JWH133 induced apoptosis in patient-derived glioma cultures and five established glioma cell lines despite p53 and/or PTEN deficiency. Growth inhibitory efficacy of cannabinoids correlated with CB1/CB2 expression (EC<sub>50</sub> WIN55,212-2: 7.36-15.70 µM, JWH133: 12.15-143.20 µM). Treatment with WIN55,212-2 or JWH133 led to activation of the apoptotic mitochondrial pathway and DNA fragmentation. Synthetic cannabinoid action was associated with the induction of autophagy and knockdown of autophagy genes augmented cannabinoid-induced apoptotic cell death. The high susceptibility of human glioblastoma cells to synthetic cannabinoids, despite genetic defects contributing to apoptosis resistance, makes cannabinoids promising anti-glioma therapeutics.