ObjectiveNeutrophils are prominent components of solid tumours and exhibit distinct phenotypes in different tumour microenvironments. However, the nature, regulation, function and clinical relevance of neutrophils in human gastric cancer (GC) are presently unknown.DesignFlow cytometry analyses were performed to examine levels and phenotype of neutrophils in samples from 105 patients with GC. Kaplan-Meier plots for overall survival were performed using the log-rank test. Neutrophils and T cells were isolated, stimulated and/or cultured for in vitro and in vivo regulation and function assays.ResultsPatients with GC showed a significantly higher neutrophil infiltration in tumours. These tumour-infiltrating neutrophils showed an activated CD54+ phenotype and expressed high level immunosuppressive molecule programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1). Neutrophils activated by tumours prolonged their lifespan and strongly expressed PD-L1 proteins with similar phenotype to their status in GC, and significant correlations were found between the levels of PD-L1 and CD54 on tumour-infiltrating neutrophils. Moreover, these PD-L1+ neutrophils in tumours were associated with disease progression and reduced GC patient survival. Tumour-derived GM-CSF activated neutrophils and induced neutrophil PD-L1 expression via Janus kinase (JAK)-signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) signalling pathway. The activated PD-L1+ neutrophils effectively suppressed normal T-cell immunity in vitro and contributed to the growth and progression of human GC in vivo; the effect could be reversed by blocking PD-L1 on these neutrophils.ConclusionsOur results illuminate a novel mechanism of PD-L1 expression on tumour-activated neutrophils in GC, and also provide functional evidence for these novel GM-CSF-PD-L1 pathways to prevent, and to treat this immune tolerance feature of GC.
ObjectiveHelper T (Th) cell responses are critical for the pathogenesis of Helicobacter pylori-induced gastritis. Th22 cells represent a newly discovered Th cell subset, but their relevance to H. pylori-induced gastritis is unknown.DesignFlow cytometry, real-time PCR and ELISA analyses were performed to examine cell, protein and transcript levels in gastric samples from patients and mice infected with H. pylori. Gastric tissues from interleukin (IL)-22-deficient and wild-type (control) mice were also examined. Tissue inflammation was determined for pro-inflammatory cell infiltration and pro-inflammatory protein production. Gastric epithelial cells and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) were isolated, stimulated and/or cultured for Th22 cell function assays.ResultsTh22 cells accumulated in gastric mucosa of both patients and mice infected with H. pylori. Th22 cell polarisation was promoted via the production of IL-23 by dendritic cells (DC) during H. pylori infection, and resulted in increased inflammation within the gastric mucosa. This inflammation was characterised by the CXCR2-dependent influx of MDSCs, whose migration was induced via the IL-22-dependent production of CXCL2 by gastric epithelial cells. Under the influence of IL-22, MDSCs, in turn, produced pro-inflammatory proteins, such as S100A8 and S100A9, and suppressed Th1 cell responses, thereby contributing to the development of H. pylori-associated gastritis.ConclusionsThis study, therefore, identifies a novel regulatory network involving H. pylori, DCs, Th22 cells, gastric epithelial cells and MDSCs, which collectively exert a pro-inflammatory effect within the gastric microenvironment. Efforts to inhibit this Th22-dependent pathway may therefore prove a valuable strategy in the therapy of H. pylori-associated gastritis.
Natural killer (NK) cells are a major component of the host antitumor immune response in human cancer. However, the nature, functional regulation, and clinical relevance of NK cells in gastric cancer remain largely unknown. In this study, we showed that the percentages of NK cells in tumors were significantly decreased, and low percentages of tumor-infiltrating NK cells were positively correlated with poor survival and disease progression. Although the expression of activating and inhibitory receptors on NK cells was shown to be not different between tumor and nontumor tissues, NK cells in tumors had impaired effector functions, characterized by decreased IFNγ, TNFα, and Ki-67 expression. We found that tumor-infiltrating monocytes/macrophages were physically close to NK cells, and their percentages negatively correlated with IFNγ and TNFα NK-cell percentages. study showed that isolated tumor-associated monocytes/macrophages could impair NK-cell expression of IFNγ, TNFα, and Ki-67. Blockade of TGFβ1 attenuated such monocytes/macrophages-mediated impairment of NK-cell function. Our data suggest that human NK-cell function was impaired by tumor-associated monocytes/macrophages, and that restoring NK-cell function may be an important therapeutic strategy to prevent tumor immune escape in gastric cancer. .
Background Mast cells are prominent components of solid tumors and exhibit distinct phenotypes in different tumor microenvironments. However, the nature, regulation, function, and clinical relevance of mast cells in human gastric cancer (GC) are presently unknown. Methods Flow cytometry analyses were performed to examine level and phenotype of mast cells in samples from 114 patients with GC. Multivariate analysis of prognostic factors for overall survival was performed using the Cox proportional hazards model. Kaplan-Meier plots for patient survival were performed using the log-rank test. Mast cells, T cells and tumor cells were isolated or generated, stimulated and/or cultured for in vitro and in vivo function assays. Results Patients with GC showed a significantly higher mast cell infiltration in tumors. Mast cell levels increased with tumor progression and independently predicted reduced overall survival. These tumor-infiltrating mast cells accumulated in tumors by CXCL12-CXCR4 chemotaxis. Intratumoral mast cells expressed higher immunosuppressive molecule programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1), and mast cells induced by tumors strongly express PD-L1 proteins in both time-dependent and dose-dependent manners. Significant correlations were found between the levels of PD-L1 + mast cells and pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-α in GC tumors, and tumor-derived TNF-α activated NF-κB signaling pathway to induce mast cell expression of PD-L1. The tumor-infiltrating and tumor-conditioned mast cells effectively suppressed normal T-cell immunity through PD-L1 in vitro, and tumor-conditioned mast cells contributed to the suppression of T-cell immunity and the growth of human GC tumors in vivo; the effect could be reversed by blocking PD-L1 on these mast cells. Conclusion Thus, our results illuminate novel immunosuppressive and protumorigenic roles of mast cells in GC, and also present a novel mechanism in which PD-L1 expressing mast cells link the proinflammatory response to immune tolerance in the GC tumor milieu. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (10.1186/s40425-019-0530-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
BackgroundStaphylococcus aureus is the major cause of hospital-acquired and community-acquired pneumonia. Host defense to S.aureus infection is largely mediated by the innate immune system. γδ T cells play an important role in innate immunity to many infectious diseases. However, less is known about the role of these cells during S.aureus-induced pneumonia. In this study, we examined the response and the role of γδ T cells to pulmonary S.aureus infection.ResultsMice infected with S. aureus intranasally showed rapid γδ T cells accumulation in the lung. Deficiency of γδ T cells led to attenuated bacterial clearance and less tissue damage in lung compared with WT mice. Moreover, TCR-δ−/− mice exhibited impaired neutrophil recruitment and reduced cytokine production at the site of infection. The γδ T cells in response to pulmonary S. aureus infection mainly secreted IL-17 and γδ T cells deficiency reduced IL-17 production, which might regulate the production of neutrophil-inducing cytokine/chemokine in the S. aureus-infected lungs.ConclusionsAccumulation of γδ T cells in the lungs to S. aureus infection is beneficial for bacteria clearance and also contributes to the tissue damage. These cells were the primary source of IL-17, which might influence the recruitment of neutrophils at the early stage of infection.
IL-22-producing CD4(+) T cells (IL-22(+)CD4(+) T cells) and Th22 cells (IL-22(+)IL-17(-)IFN-γ(-)CD4(+) T cells) represent newly discovered T-cell subsets, but their nature, regulation, and clinical relevance in gastric cancer (GC) are presently unknown. In our study, the frequency of IL-22(+)CD4(+) T cells in tumor tissues from 76 GC patients was significantly higher than that in tumor-draining lymph nodes, non-tumor, and peritumoral tissues. Most intratumoral IL-22(+)CD4(+) T cells co-expressed IL-17 and IFN-γ and showed a memory phenotype. Locally enriched IL-22(+)CD4(+) T cells positively correlated with increased CD14(+) monocytes and IL-6 and IL-23 detection ex vivo, and in vitro IL-6 and IL-23 induced the polarization of IL-22(+)CD4(+) T cells in a dose-dependent manner and the polarized IL-22(+)CD4(+) T cells co-expressed of IL-17 and IFN-γ. Moreover, IL-22(+)CD4(+) T-cell subsets (IL-22(+)IL-17(+)CD4(+), IL-22(+)IL-17(-)CD4(+), IL-22(+)IFN-γ(+)CD4(+), IL-22(+)IFN-γ(-)CD4(+), and IL-22(+)IL-17(+)IFN-γ(+)CD4(+) T cells), and Th22 cells were also increased in tumors. Furthermore, higher intratumoral IL-22(+)CD4(+) T-cell percentage and Th22-cell percentage were found in patients with tumor-node-metastasis stage advanced and predicted reduced overall survival. In conclusion, our data indicate that IL-22(+)CD4(+) T cells and Th22 cells are likely important in establishing the tumor microenvironment for GC; increased intratumoral IL-22(+)CD4(+) T cells and Th22 cells are associated with tumor progression and predict poorer patient survival, suggesting that tumor-infiltrating IL-22(+)CD4(+) T cells and Th22 cells may be suitable therapeutic targets in patients with GC.
Although Th22 and Th17 cells have been reported to play critical roles during autoimmunity and inflammation, information on their role in cancer-immunity is limited. In this study, we investigated clinical relevance of circulating Th22 and Th17 cells in patients with gastric cancer (GC). Using multi-color flow cytometry and PMA stimulation, we determined the levels of Th22, Th17 and Th1 cells in the peripheral blood of 32 GC patients and 19 healthy donors, and evaluated their correlations with tumor stage and overall survival. Compared with healthy donors, the frequencies of circulating CD4(+)IL-22(+) T cells, CD4(+)IL-17(+) T cells, Th22 (CD4(+)IL-22(+)IL-17(-)INF-γ(-)) cells, Th17 (CD4(+)IL-17(+)INF-γ(-)) cells were increased in patients with GC, but there was no significant differences in the frequencies of CD4(+)IFN-γ(+) T cells and Th1 (CD4(+)IL-17(-)INF-γ(+)) cells. Th22 cells showed positive correlation with Th17 cells and CD4(+)IL-17(+) T cells in patients with GC. Furthermore, the frequencies of Th22 and Th17 cells were significantly higher in stage III-IV GC patients versus stage I-II and correlated with patients' overall survival. These data suggest that circulating Th22 cells as well as Th17 cells are increased in the peripheral blood of GC patients with tumor progression, and that these cells may be promising novel clinical markers for GC.
Natural killer (NK) cell activity is influenced by a complex integration of signaling pathways activated downstream of both activating and inhibitory surface receptors. The tumor microenvironment can suppress NK cell activity, and there is a great clinical interest in understanding whether modulating tumor-mediated NK cell suppression and/or boosting preexisting NK cell numbers in cancer patients is therapeutically viable. To this light, we characterized the surface receptor phenotypes of peripheral blood NK cells and examined their clinical relevance to human gastric cancer (GC). We found that the proportion of peripheral blood NK cells which expressed the activating receptors NKp30, NKp46, NKG2D, and DNAM-1 was significantly decreased in GC patients compared to healthy donors, and that this decrease was positively associated with tumor progression. At the same time, plasma TGF-β1 concentrations were significantly increased in GC patients and negatively correlated with the proportion of NKp30, NKp46, NKG2D, and DNAM-1 expressing NK cells. Furthermore, TGF-β1 significantly downregulated the expression of NKp30, NKp46, NKG2D, and DNAM-1 on NK cells in vitro, and the addition of galunisertib, an inhibitor of the TGF-β receptor subunit I, reversed this downregulation. Altogether, our data suggest that the decreased expression of activating receptors NKp30, NKp46, NKG2D, and DNAM-1 on peripheral blood NK cells is positively associated with GC progression, and that TGF-β1-mediated NK cell suppression may be a therapeutically targetable characteristic of GC.
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