Tumor microenvironment of solid tumors is characterized by a strikingly high concentration of adenosine and ATP. Physiological significance of this biochemical feature is unknown, but it has been suggested that it may affect infiltrating immune cell responses and tumor progression. There is increasing awareness that many of the effects of extracellular ATP on tumor and inflammatory cells are mediated by the P2X7 receptor (P2X7R). Aim of this study was to investigate whether: (i) extracellular ATP is a component of neuroblastoma (NB) microenvironment, (ii) myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) express functional P2X7R and (iii) the ATP/P2X7R axis modulates MDSC functions. Our results show that extracellular ATP was detected in NB microenvironment in amounts that increased in parallel with tumor progression. The percentage of CD11b+/Gr-1+ cells was higher in NB-bearing mice compared with healthy animals. Within the CD11b/Gr-1+ population, monocytic MDSCs (M-MDSCs) produced higher levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), arginase-1 (ARG-1), transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) and stimulated more potently in vivo tumor growth, as compared with granulocytic MDSCs (G-MDSCs). P2X7R of M-MDSCs was localized at the plasma membrane, coupled to increased functionality, upregulation of ARG-1, TGF-β1 and ROS. Quite surprisingly, the P2X7R in primary MDSCs as well as in the MSC-1 and MSC-2 lines was uncoupled from cytotoxicity. This study describes a novel scenario in which MDSC immunosuppressive functions are modulated by the ATP-enriched tumor microenvironment.
- Myeloid-derived suppressor cells
- P2X7 receptor
- Purinergic receptors
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology
- Cancer Research
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience