Cachexia, a paraneoplastic syndrome markedly associated with worsened prognosis in cancer patients, provokes profound wasting of both lean and adipose mass in an association with a state of metabolic "chaos". The white adipose tissue responds to cachexia with marked local inflammation and may be thus a relevant contributor to systemic inflammation. To address this hypothesis we examined the correlation between tissue expression of adipokines and plasma concentration in cachectic and stable weight patients with or without cancer. Adiponectin and liver-derived CRP concentration were significantly higher in the cachectic groups when compared with stable weight patients (P<0.01). The concentration of plasma IL-6 was higher (11.4-fold) in the cancer cachectic group when compared with weight-stable controls, and presented a significant correlation with the presence of cancer (P<0.001). A marked increase (5-fold) in IL-6 as a result of the interaction between the presence of cachexia and the presence of tumour was observed in the subcutaneous tissue of the patients, yet not in the visceral depot. Plasma adiponectin levels were higher in cachectic cancer patients, compared with stable weight cancer patients individually matched by age, sex, and BMI, and the subcutaneous depot was found to be the main contributing tissue, rather than the visceral pad. Based on the results we concluded that the subcutaneous adipose tissue is associated with plasma changes that may function as markers of cachexia.
Background and aimsCachexia is a syndrome characterized by marked involuntary loss of body weight. Recently, adipose tissue (AT) wasting has been shown to occur before the appearance of other classical cachexia markers. We investigated the composition and rearrangement of the extracellular matrix, adipocyte morphology and inflammation in the subcutaneous AT (scAT) pad of gastrointestinal cancer patients.MethodsSurgical biopsies for scAT were obtained from gastrointestinal cancer patients, who were signed up into the following groups: cancer cachexia (CC, n = 11), weight‐stable cancer (WSC, n = 9) and weight‐stable control (non‐cancer) (control, n = 7). The stable weight groups were considered as those with no important weight change during the last year and body mass index <25 kg/m2. Subcutaneous AT fibrosis was quantified and characterized by quantitative PCR, histological analysis and immunohistochemistry.ResultsThe degree of fibrosis and the distribution and collagen types (I and III) were different in WSC and CC patients. CC patients showed more pronounced fibrosis in comparison with WSC. Infiltrating macrophages surrounding adipocytes and CD3 Ly were found in the fibrotic areas of scAT. Subcutaneous AT fibrotic areas demonstrated increased monocyte chemotactic protein 1 (MCP‐1) and Cluster of Differentiation (CD)68 gene expression in cancer patients.ConclusionsOur data indicate architectural modification consisting of fibrosis and inflammatory cell infiltration in scAT as induced by cachexia in gastrointestinal cancer patients. The latter was characterized by the presence of macrophages and lymphocytes, more evident in the fibrotic areas. In addition, increased MCP‐1 and CD68 gene expression in scAT from cancer patients may indicate an important role of these markers in the early phases of cancer.
Cachexia affects about 80% of gastrointestinal cancer patients. This multifactorial syndrome resulting in involuntary and continuous weight loss is accompanied by systemic inflammation and immune cell infiltration in various tissues. Understanding the interactions among tumor, immune cells, and peripheral tissues could help attenuating systemic inflammation. Therefore, we investigated inflammation in the subcutaneous adipose tissue and in the tumor, in weight stable and cachectic cancer patients with same diagnosis, in order to establish correlations between tumor microenvironment and secretory pattern with adipose tissue and systemic inflammation. Infiltrating monocyte phenotypes of subcutaneous and tumor vascular-stromal fraction were identified by flow cytometry. Gene and protein expression of inflammatory and chemotactic factors was measured with qRT-PCR and Multiplex Magpix® system, respectively. Subcutaneous vascular-stromal fraction exhibited no differences in regard to macrophage subtypes, while in the tumor, the percentage of M2 macrophages was decreased in the cachectic patients, in comparison to weight-stable counterparts. CCL3, CCL4, and IL-1β expression was higher in the adipose tissue and tumor tissue in the cachectic group. In both tissues, chemotactic factors were positively correlated with IL-1β. Furthermore, positive correlations were found for the content of chemoattractants and cytokines in the tumor and adipose tissue. The results strongly suggest that the crosstalk between the tumor and peripheral tissues is more pronounced in cachectic patients, compared to weight-stable patients with the same tumor diagnosis.
BackgroundCancer cachexia is a multifactorial syndrome that dramatically decreases survival. Loss of white adipose tissue (WAT) is one of the key characteristics of cachexia. WAT wasting is paralleled by microarchitectural remodeling in cachectic cancer patients. Fibrosis results from uncontrolled ECM synthesis, a process in which, transforming growth factor-beta (TGFβ) plays a pivotal role. So far, the mechanisms involved in adipose tissue (AT) re-arrangement, and the role of TGFβ in inducing AT remodeling in weight-losing cancer patients are poorly understood. This study examined the modulation of ECM components mediated by TGFβ pathway in fibrotic AT obtained from cachectic gastrointestinal cancer patients.MethodsAfter signing the informed consent form, patients were enrolled into the following groups: cancer cachexia (CC, n = 21), weight-stable cancer (WSC, n = 17), and control (n = 21). The total amount of collagen and elastic fibers in the subcutaneous AT was assessed by histological analysis and by immunohistochemistry. TGFβ isoforms expression was analyzed by Multiplex assay and by immunohistochemistry. Alpha-smooth muscle actin (αSMA), fibroblast-specific protein (FSP1), Smad3 and 4 were quantified by qPCR and/or by immunohistochemistry. Interleukin (IL) 2, IL5, IL8, IL13 and IL17 content, cytokines known to be associated with fibrosis, was measured by Multiplex assay.ResultsThere was an accumulation of collagen and elastic fibers in the AT of CC, as compared with WSC and controls. Collagens type I, III, VI, and fibronectin expression was enhanced in the tissue of CC, compared with both WSC and control. The pronounced expression of αSMA in the surrounding of adipocytes, and the increased mRNA content for FSP1 (20-fold) indicate the presence of activated myofibroblasts; particularly in CC. TGFβ1 and TGFβ3 levels were up-regulated by cachexia in AT, as well in the isolated adipocytes. Smad3 and Smad4 labeling was found to be more evident in the fibrotic areas of CC adipose tissue.ConclusionsCancer cachexia promotes the development of AT fibrosis, in association with altered TGFβ signaling, compromising AT organization and function.
Cachexia is a wasting syndrome characterized by the continuous loss of skeletal muscle mass due to imbalance between protein synthesis and degradation, which is related with poor prognosis and compromised quality of life. Dysfunctional mitochondria are associated with lower muscle strength and muscle atrophy in cancer patients, yet poorly described in human cachexia. We herein investigated mitochondrial morphology, autophagy and apoptosis in the skeletal muscle of patients with gastrointestinal cancer-associated cachexia (CC), as compared with a weight-stable cancer group (WSC). CC showed prominent weight loss and increased circulating levels of serum C-reactive protein, lower body mass index and decreased circulating hemoglobin, when compared to WSC. Electron microscopy analysis revealed an increase in intermyofibrillar mitochondrial area in CC, as compared to WSC. Relative gene expression of Fission 1, a protein related to mitochondrial fission, was increased in CC, as compared to WSC. LC3 II, autophagy-related (ATG) 5 and 7 essential proteins for autophagosome formation, presented higher content in the cachectic group. Protein levels of phosphorylated p53 (Ser46), activated caspase 8 (Asp384) and 9 (Asp315) were also increased in the skeletal muscle of CC. Overall, our results demonstrate that human cancer-associated cachexia leads to exacerbated muscle-stress response that may culminate in muscle loss, which is in part due to disruption of mitochondrial morphology, dysfunctional autophagy and increased apoptosis. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report showing quantitative morphological alterations in skeletal muscle mitochondria in cachectic patients.
Cancer cachexia, of which the most notable symptom is severe and rapid weight loss, is present in the majority of patients with advanced cancer. Inflammatory mediators play an important role in the development of cachexia, envisaged as a chronic inflammatory syndrome. The white adipose tissue (WAT) is one of the first compartments affected in cancer cachexia and suffers a high rate of lipolysis. It secretes several cytokines capable of directly regulating intermediate metabolism. A common pathway in the regulation of the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in WAT is the activation of the nuclear transcription factor kappa-B (NF-κB). We have examined the gene expression of the subunits NF-κBp65 and NF-κBp50, as well as NF-κBp65 and NF-κBp50 binding, the gene expression of pro-inflammatory mediators under NF-κB control (IL-1β, IL-6, INF-γ, TNF-α, MCP-1), and its inhibitory protein, nuclear factor of kappa light polypeptide gene enhancer in B-cells inhibitor, alpha (IκB-α). The observational study involved 35 patients (control group, n = 12 and cancer group, n = 23, further divided into cachectic and non-cachectic). NF-κBp65 and its target genes expression (TNF-α, IL-1β, MCP-1 and IκB-α) were significantly higher in cachectic cancer patients. Moreover, NF-κBp65 gene expression correlated positively with the expression of its target genes. The results strongly suggest that the NF-κB pathway plays a role in the promotion of WAT inflammation during cachexia.
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