Cell death & disease

Tumor-induced senescent T cells promote the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines and angiogenic factors by human monocytes/macrophages through a mechanism that involves Tim-3 and CD40L.

PMID 25375372


Solid tumors are infiltrated by immune cells where macrophages and senescent T cells are highly represented. Within the tumor microenvironment, a cross-talk between the infiltrating cells may occur conditioning the characteristic of the in situ immune response. Our previous work showed that tumors induce senescence of T cells, which are powerful suppressors of lympho-proliferation. In this study, we report that Tumor-Induced Senescent (TIS)-T cells may also modulate monocyte activation. To gain insight into this interaction, CD4+ or CD8+TIS-T or control-T cells were co-incubated with autologous monocytes under inflammatory conditions. After co-culture with CD4+ or CD8+TIS-T cells, CD14+ monocytes/macrophages (Mo/Ma) exhibit a higher expression of CD16+ cells and a reduced expression of CD206. These Mo/Ma produce nitric oxide and reactive oxygen species; however, TIS-T cells do not modify phagocyte capacity of Mo/Ma. TIS-T modulated-Mo/Ma show a higher production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF, IL-1β and IL-6) and angiogenic factors (MMP-9, VEGF-A and IL-8) and a lower IL-10 and IP-10 secretion than monocytes co-cultured with controls. The mediator(s) present in the supernatant of TIS-T cell/monocyte-macrophage co-cultures promote(s) tubulogenesis and tumor-cell survival. Monocyte-modulation induced by TIS-T cells requires cell-to-cell contact. Although CD4+ shows different behavior from CD8+TIS-T cells, blocking mAbs against T-cell immunoglobulin and mucin protein 3 and CD40 ligand reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines and angiogenic factors production, indicating that these molecules are involved in monocyte/macrophage modulation by TIS-T cells. Our results revealed a novel role for TIS-T cells in human monocyte/macrophage modulation, which may have deleterious consequences for tumor progression. This modulation should be considered to best tailor the immunotherapy against cancer.