PSC-derived Galectin-1 inducing epithelial-mesenchymal transition of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma cells by activating the NF-?B pathway.
ABSTRACT: Galectin-1 has previously been shown to be strongly expressed in activated pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) and promote the development and metastasis of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). However, the molecular mechanisms by which Galectin-1 promotes the malignant behavior of pancreatic cancer cells remain unclear. In this study, we examined the effects of Galectin-1 knockdown or overexpression in PSCs co-cultured with pancreatic cancer (PANC-1) cells. Immunohistochemical analysis showed expression of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) markers and MMP9 were positively associated with the expression of Galectin-1 in 66 human PDAC tissues. In addition, our in vitro studies showed PSC-derived Galectin-1 promoted the proliferation, invasion, and survival (anti-apoptotic effects) of PANC-1 cells. We also showed PSC-derived Galectin-1 induced EMT of PANC-1 cells and activated the NF-?B pathway in vitro. Our mixed (PSCs and PANC-1 cells) mouse orthotopic xenograft model indicated that overexpression of Galectin-1 in PSCs significantly promoted the proliferation, growth, invasion, and liver metastasis of the transplanted tumor. Moreover, Galectin-1 overexpression in PSCs was strongly associated with increased expression of EMT markers in both the orthotopic xenograft tumor in the pancreas and in metastatic lesions of naked mice. We conclude that PSC-derived Galectin-1 promotes the malignant behavior of PDAC by inducing EMT via activation of the NF-?B pathway. Our results suggest that targeting Galectin-1 in PSCs could represent a promising therapeutic strategy for PDAC progression and metastasis.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a stroma-rich carcinoma, and pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) are a major component of this dense stroma. PSCs play significant roles in metastatic progression and chemoresistance through cross-talk with cancer cells. Preclinical in vitro tumor model of invasive phenotype should incorporate three-dimensional (3D) culture of cancer cells and PSCs in extracellular matrix (ECM) for clinical relevance and predictability. METHODS:PANC-1 cells were cultured as tumor spheroids (TSs) using our previously developed minipillar chips, and co-cultured with PSCs, both embedded in collagen gels. Effects of PSC co-culture on ECM fiber network, invasive migration of cancer cells, and expression of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-related proteins were examined. Conditioned media was also analyzed for secreted factors involved in cancer cell-PSC interactions. Inhibitory effect on cancer cell invasion was compared between gemcitabine and paclitaxel at an equitoxic concentration in PANC-1 TSs co-cultured with PSCs. RESULTS:Co-culture condition was optimized for the growth of TSs, activation of PSCs, and their interaction. Increase in cancer cell invasion via ECM remodeling, invadopodia formation and EMT, as well as drug resistance was recapitulated in the TS-PSC co-culture, and appeared to be mediated by cancer cell-PSC interaction via multiple secreted factors, including IL-6, IL-8, IGF-1, EGF, TIMP-1, uPA, PAI-1, and TSP-1. Compared to gemcitabine, paclitaxel showed a greater anti-invasive activity, which was attributed to suppresion of invadopodia formation in cancer cells as well as to PSC-specific cytotoxicity abrogating its paracrine signaling. CONCLUSIONS:Here, we established 3D co-culture of TSs of PANC-1 cells and PSCs using minipillar histochips as a novel tumoroid model of PDAC. Our results indicate usefulness of the present co-culture model and multiplex quantitative analysis method not only in studying the role of PSCs and their interactions with tumor cell towards metastatic progression, but also in the drug evaluation of stroma-targeting drugs.
Project description:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is characterized by a prominent desmoplastic/stromal reaction, which contributes to the poor clinical outcome of this disease. Therefore, greater understanding of the stroma development and tumor-stroma interactions is highly required. Pancreatic stellate cells (PSC) are myofibroblast-like cells located in exocrine areas of the pancreas, which as a result of inflammation produced by PDAC migrate and accumulate in the tumor mass, secreting extracellular matrix components and producing the dense PDAC stroma. Currently, only a few orthotopic or ectopic animal tumor models, where PDAC cells are injected into the pancreas or subcutaneous tissue layer, or genetically engineered animals offer tumors that encompass some stromal component. Herein, we report generation of a simple 3D PDAC in vitro micro-tumor model without an addition of external extracellular matrix, which encompasses a rich, dense and active stromal compartment. We have achieved this in vitro model by incorporating PSCs into 3D PDAC cell culture using a modified hanging drop method. It is now known that PSCs are the principal source of fibrosis in the stroma and interact closely with cancer cells to create a tumor facilitatory environment that stimulates local and distant tumor growth. The 3D micro-stroma models are highly reproducible with excellent uniformity, which can be used for PDAC-stroma interaction analysis and high throughput automated drug-screening assays. Additionally, the increased expression of collagenous regions means that molecular based perfusion and cytostaticity of gemcitabine is decreased in our Pancreatic adenocarcinoma stroma spheroids (PDAC-SS) model when compared to spheroids grown without PSCs. We believe this model will allow an improved knowledge of PDAC biology and has the potential to provide an insight into pathways that may be therapeutically targeted to inhibit PSC activation, thereby inhibiting the development of fibrosis in PDAC and interrupting PSC-PDAC cell interactions so as to inhibit cancer progression.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Gemcitabine remains a cornerstone in chemotherapy of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) despite suboptimal clinical effects that are partly due to the development of chemoresistance. Pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) of the tumor stroma are known to interact with pancreatic cancer cells (PCCs) and influence the progression of PDAC through a complex network of signaling molecules that involve extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. To understand tumor-stroma interactions regulating chemosensitivity, the role of PSC-secreted fibronectin (FN) in the development of gemcitabine resistance in PDAC was examined. METHODS:PSC cultures obtained from ten different human PDAC tumors were co-cultured with PCC lines (AsPC-1, BxPC-3, Capan-2, HPAF-II, MIA PaCa-2, PANC-1 and SW-1990) either directly, or indirectly via incubation with PSC-conditioned medium (PSC-CM). Gemcitabine dose response cytotoxicity was determined using MTT based cell viability assays. Protein expression was assessed by western blotting and immunofluorescence. PSC-CM secretome analysis was performed by proteomics-based LC-MS/MS, and FN content in PSC-CM was determined with ELISA. Radiolabeled gemcitabine was used to determine the capacity of PCCs to uptake the drug. RESULTS:In both direct and indirect co-culture, PSCs induced varying degrees of resistance to the cytotoxic effects of gemcitabine among all cancer cell lines examined. A variable degree of increased phosphorylation of ERK1/2 was observed across all PCC lines upon incubation with PSC-CM, while activation of AKT was not detected. Secretome analysis of PSC-CM identified 796 different proteins, including several ECM-related proteins such as FN and collagens. Soluble FN content in PSC-CM was detected in the range 175-350?ng/ml. Neither FN nor PSC-CM showed any effect on PCC uptake capacity of gemcitabine. PCCs grown on FN-coated surface displayed higher resistance to gemcitabine compared to cells grown on non-coated surface. Furthermore, a FN inhibitor, synthetic Arg-Gly-Asp-Ser (RGDS) peptide significantly inhibited PSC-CM-induced chemoresistance in PCCs via downregulation of ERK1/2 phosphorylation. CONCLUSIONS:The findings of this study suggest that FN secreted by PSCs in the ECM plays a key role in the development of resistance to gemcitabine via activation of ERK1/2. FN-blocking agents added to gemcitabine-based chemotherapy might counteract chemoresistance in PDAC and provide better clinical outcomes.
Project description:Pancreatic stellate cells (PSC) have been recognized as the principal cells responsible for the production of fibrosis in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Recently, PSCs have been noted to share characteristics with cells of monocyte-macrophage lineage (MML cells). Thus, we tested whether PSCs could be targeted with the nitrogen-containing bisphosphonates (NBP; pamidronate or zoledronic acid), which are potent MML cell inhibitors. In addition, we tested NBPs treatment combination with nanoparticle albumin-bound paclitaxel (nab-paclitaxel) to enhance antitumor activity. In vitro, we observed that PSCs possess ?-naphthyl butyrate esterase (ANBE) enzyme activity, a specific marker of MML cells. Moreover, NBPs inhibited PSCs proliferation, activation, release of macrophage chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), and type I collagen expression. NBPs also induced PSCs apoptosis and cell-cycle arrest in the G1 phase. In vivo, NBPs inactivated PSCs; reduced fibrosis; inhibited tumor volume, tumor weight, peritoneal dissemination, angiogenesis, and cell proliferation; and increased apoptosis in an orthotopic murine model of PDAC. These in vivo antitumor effects were enhanced when NBPs were combined with nab-paclitaxel but not gemcitabine. Our study suggests that targeting PSCs and tumor cells with NBPs in combination with nab-paclitaxel may be a novel therapeutic approach to PDAC.
Project description:Hippo/YAP pathway is known to be important for development, growth and organogenesis, and dysregulation of this pathway leads to tumor progression. We and others find that YAP is up-regulated in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and associated with worse prognosis of patients. Activated pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) forming the components of microenvironment that enhance pancreatic cancer cells (PCs) invasiveness and malignance. However, the role and mechanism of YAP in PDAC tumor-stromal interaction is largely unknown.The expression of YAP in Pancreatic cancer cell lines and PDAC samples was examined by Western blot and IHC. The biological role of YAP on cancer cell proliferation, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and invasion were evaluated by MTT, Quantitative real-time PCR analysis, Western blot analysis and invasion assay. The effect of YAP on PSC activation was evaluated by PC-PSC co-culture conditions and xenograft PDAC mouse model.Firstly, knockdown of YAP inhibits PDAC cell proliferation and invasion in vitro. In addition, YAP modulates the PC and PSC interaction via reducing the production of connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) from PCs, inhibits paracrine-mediated PSC activation under PC-PSC co-culture conditions and in turn disrupts TGF-?1-mediated tumor-stromal interactions. Lastly, inhibiting YAP expression prevents tumor growth and suppresses desmoplastic reaction in vivo.These results demonstrate that YAP contributes to the proliferation and invasion of PC and the activation of PSC via tumor-stromal interactions and that targeting YAP may be a promising therapeutic strategy for PDAC treatment.
Project description:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a dynamic tumor supported by several stromal elements such as pancreatic stellate cells (PSC). Significant crosstalk exists between PSCs and tumor cells to stimulate oncogenic signaling and malignant progression of PDAC. However, how PSCs activate intercellular signaling in PDAC cells remains to be elucidated. We have previously shown that activated signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) signaling is a key component in the progression of pancreatic neoplasia. We hypothesize that PSC secreted IL-6 activates STAT3 signaling to promote PanIN progression to PDAC. Human PDAC and mouse PanIN cells were treated with PSC-conditioned media (PSC-CM), and phospho- and total-STAT3 levels by immunoblot analysis were determined. IL-6 was quantified in PSC-CM and cell invasion and colony formation assays were performed in the presence or absence of a neutralizing IL-6 antibody and the JAK/STAT3 inhibitor AZD1480. Serum from Ptf1aCre/+;LSL-KrasG12D/+;Tgfbr2flox/flox (PKT) and LSL-KrasG12D/+; Trp53R172H/+; Pdx1Cre/+ (KPC) mice demonstrated increased levels of IL-6 compared to serum from non-PDAC bearing KC and PK mice. PSC secreted IL-6 activated STAT3 signaling in noninvasive, precursor PanIN cells as well as PDAC cells, resulting in enhanced cell invasion and colony formation in both cell types. There was a significant positive linear correlation between IL-6 concentration and the ratio of phosphorylated STAT3/total STAT3. IL-6 neutralization or STAT3 inhibition attenuated PSC-CM induced activation of STAT3 signaling and tumorigenicity. These data provide evidence that PSCs are directly involved in promoting the progression of PanINs towards invasive carcinoma. This study demonstrates a novel role of PSC secreted IL-6 in transitioning noninvasive pancreatic precursor cells into invasive PDAC through the activation of STAT3 signaling.
Project description:Activated pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) play a central role in the tumor stroma of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Given the limited availability of patient-derived PSCs from PDAC, immortalized PSC cell lines of murine and human origin have been established; however, it is not elucidated whether differences in species, organ disease status, donor age, and immortalization alter the PSC phenotype and behavior compared to that of patient-derived primary PSC cultures. Therefore, a panel of commonly used PSC cultures was examined for important phenotypical and functional features: three primary cultures from human PDAC, one primary from normal human pancreas, and three immortalized (one from human, two from murine pancreas). Growth rate was considerably lower in primary PSCs from human PDAC. Basal collagen synthesis varied between the PSC cultures, and TGF-? stimulation increased collagen synthesis only in non-immortalized cultures. Differences in secretome composition were observed along with a divergence in the DNA synthesis, migration, and response to gemcitabine of PDAC cell lines that were grown in conditioned medium from the various PSC cultures. The findings reveal considerable differences in features and functions that are key to PSCs and in the interactions with PDAC. These observations may be relevant to researchers when selecting the most appropriate PSC culture for their experiments.
Project description:Pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) are important players in pancreatic fibrosis and are major contributors to the extracellular matrix proteins observed with the stromal response characteristic of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Pancreatic stellate cells are also believed to secrete soluble factors that promote tumor progression; however, no comprehensive analysis of the PSC proteome in either the quiescent or the activated state has been reported.Using 2-dimensional tandem mass spectrometry and the RLT-PSC cell line, we present the first comprehensive study describing and comparing the quiescent and activated human PSC-secreted proteomes.Very few proteins are secreted in the quiescent state. In stark contrast, activated PSCs secreted a vast array of proteins. Many of these proteins differed from those secreted by PDAC-derived cell lines. Proteins associated with wound healing, proliferation, apoptosis, fibrosis, and invasion were characterized. Selected proteins were verified in human tissue samples from PDAC, dysplastic pancreas, and normal pancreas using Western blot analysis and immunohistochemical staining.Our study represents the first comprehensive analysis of proteins secreted by PSCs. These findings lay the foundation for characterizing PSC-derived proteins involved in stroma-tumor interactions and the promotion of pancreatitis and PDAC.
Project description:The ATP-gated receptor P2X7 (P2X7R) is involved in regulation of cell survival and has been of interest in cancer field. Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a deadly cancer and new markers and therapeutic targets are needed. PDAC is characterized by a complex tumour microenvironment, which includes cancer and pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs), and potentially high nucleotide/side turnover. Our aim was to determine P2X7R expression and function in human pancreatic cancer cells in vitro as well as to perform in vivo efficacy study applying P2X7R inhibitor in an orthotopic xenograft mouse model of PDAC. In the in vitro studies we show that human PDAC cells with luciferase gene (PancTu-1 Luc cells) express high levels of P2X7R protein. Allosteric P2X7R antagonist AZ10606120 inhibited cell proliferation in basal conditions, indicating that P2X7R was tonically active. Extracellular ATP and BzATP, to which the P2X7R is more sensitive, further affected cell survival and confirmed complex functionality of P2X7R. PancTu-1 Luc migration and invasion was reduced by AZ10606120, and it was stimulated by PSCs, but not by PSCs from P2X7(-/-) animals. PancTu-1 Luc cells were orthotopically transplanted into nude mice and tumour growth was followed noninvasively by bioluminescence imaging. AZ10606120-treated mice showed reduced bioluminescence compared to saline-treated mice. Immunohistochemical analysis confirmed P2X7R expression in cancer and PSC cells, and in metaplastic/neoplastic acinar and duct structures. PSCs number/activity and collagen deposition was reduced in AZ10606120-treated tumours.
Project description:Gemcitabine (GEM) resistance is a critical issue for pancreatic cancer treatment. The involvement of epigenetic modification in GEM resistance is still unclear. We established a GEM-resistant subline PANC-1-R from the parental PANC-1 pancreatic cancer cells and found the elevation of various chromatin-modifying enzymes including G9a in GEM-resistant cells. Ectopic expression of G9a in PANC-1 cells increased GEM resistance while inactivation of G9a in PANC-1-R cells reduced it. Challenge of PANC-1 cells with GEM increased the expression of stemness markers including CD133, nestin and Lgr5 and promoted sphere forming activity suggesting chemotherapy enriched cancer cells with stem-like properties. Inhibition of G9a in PANC-1-R cells reduced stemness and invasiveness and sensitized the cells to GEM. We revealed interleukin-8 (IL-8) is a downstream effector of G9a to increase GEM resistance. G9a-overexpressing PANC-1-R cells exhibited autocrine IL-8/CXCR1/2 stimulation to increase GEM resistance which could be decreased by anti-IL-8 antibody and G9a inhibitor. IL-8 released by cancer cells also activated pancreatic stellate cell (PSC) to increase GEM resistance. In orthotopic animal model, GEM could not suppress tumor growth of PANC-1-R cells and eventually promoted tumor metastasis. Combination with G9a inhibitor and GEM reduced tumor growth, metastasis, IL-8 expression and PSC activation in animals. Finally, we showed that overexpression of G9a correlated with poor survival and early recurrence in pancreatic cancer patients. Collectively, our results suggest G9a is a therapeutic target to override GEM resistance in the treatment of pancreatic cancer.