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ID 114549
Feng, Rui Tokushima University
Nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2
Tumor-associated macrophage
Hepatocellular carcinoma
Pancreatic cancer
Epithelial-mesenchymal transition
Content Type
Journal Article
Background: The M2 phenotype of tumor-associated macrophages (TAM) inhibits the anti-tumor inflammation, increases angiogenesis and promotes tumor progression. The transcription factor Nuclear Factor (erythroid-derived 2)-Like 2 (Nrf2) not only modulates the angiogenesis but also plays the anti-inflammatory role through inhibiting pro-inflammatory cytokines expression; however, the role of Nrf2 in the cancer cell and macrophages interaction is not clear.
Methods: Hepatocellular carcinoma cells (Hep G2 and Huh 7) and pancreatic cancer cells (SUIT2 and Panc-1) were co-cultured with monocytes cells (THP-1) or peripheral blood monocytes derived macrophages, then the phenotype changes of macrophages and epithelial-mesenchymal transition of cancer cells were detected. Also, the role of Nrf2 in cancer cells and macrophages interaction were investigated.
Results: In this study, we found that cancer cells could induce an M2-like macrophage characterized by up-regulation of CD163 and Arg1, and down-regulation of IL-1b and IL-6 through Nrf2 activation. Also, Nrf2 activation of macrophages promoted VEGF expression. The Nrf2 activation of macrophages correlated with the reactive oxygen species induced by cancer cells derived lactate. Cancer cells educated macrophages could activate Nrf2 of the cancer cells, in turn, to increase cancer cells epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) through paracrine VEGF. These findings suggested that Nrf2 played the important role in the cancer cells and macrophages interaction.
Conclusions: Macrophage Nrf2 activation by cancer cell-derived lactate skews macrophages polarization towards an M2-like phenotype and educated macrophages activate Nrf2 of the cancer cells to promote EMT of cancer cells. This study provides a new understanding of the role of Nrf2 in the cancer cell and TAM interaction and suggests a potential therapeutic target.
Journal Title
Cell Communication and Signaling
Springer Nature|BioMed Central
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© The Author(s). 2018 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
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Medical Sciences
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