Role of interferon regulatory factor 1 in governing Treg depletion, Th1 polarization, inflammasome activation and antitumor efficacy of cyclophosphamide

Carla Buccione, Alessandra Fragale, Federica Polverino, Giovanna Ziccheddu, Eleonora Aricò, Filippo Belardelli, Enrico Proietti, Angela Battistini, Federica Moschella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The antitumor effectiveness of cyclophosphamide (CTX) and other chemotherapeutics was shown to rely not only on direct cytotoxicity but also on immunogenic tumor cell death and systemic immunomodulatory mechanisms, including regulatory T cell (Treg) depletion, Th1 cell polarization, type I interferon (IFN) and proinflammatory cytokine production. IFN regulatory factor (IRF)-1 is a transcriptional regulator of IFNs and IFN-inducible genes, involved in the control of Th1 and Treg differentiation and in sterile inflammation. Aim of this study was to explore the role of IRF-1 in CTX-induced antitumor effects and related immune activities. This study shows for the first time that IRF-1 is important for the antitumor efficacy of CTX in mice. Moreover, experiments in tumor-bearing C57BL/6 mice showed that Irf1 gene expression in the spleen was transiently increased following CTX administration and correlated with the induction of Th1 cell expansion and of Il12p40 gene expression, which is the main Th1-driving cytokine. At the same time, CTX administration reduced both Foxp3 expression and Treg cell percentages. These effects were abrogated in Irf1−/− mice. Further experiments showed that the gene and/or protein expression of caspase-1, iNOS, IL-1β, IL-6 and CXCL10 and the levels of nitric oxide were modulated following CTX in an IRF-1-direct- or -indirect-dependent manner, and highlighted the importance of caspase-1 in driving the sterile inflammatory response to CTX. Our data identify IRF-1 as important for the antitumor efficacy of CTX and for the regulation of many immunomodulatory activities of CTX, such as Th1 polarization, Treg depletion and inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)976-987
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Volume142
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2018

Keywords

  • alkylating agents
  • cyclophosphamide
  • cytokines
  • immune responses to anticancer drugs
  • immunomodulation
  • IRF-1
  • regulatory T cell depletion
  • sterile inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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