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J Biol Chem. 2009 Dec 4;284(49):34342-54. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M109.042671. Epub 2009 Oct 15.

CCL2 and interleukin-6 promote survival of human CD11b+ peripheral blood mononuclear cells and induce M2-type macrophage polarization.

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  • 1Department of Urology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA.


CCL2 and interleukin (IL)-6 are among the most prevalent cytokines in the tumor microenvironment, with expression generally correlating with tumor progression and metastasis. CCL2 and IL-6 induced expression of each other in CD11b(+) cells isolated from human peripheral blood. It was demonstrated that both cytokines induce up-regulation of the antiapoptotic proteins cFLIP(L) (cellular caspase-8 (FLICE)-like inhibitory protein), Bcl-2, and Bcl-X(L) and inhibit the cleavage of caspase-8 and subsequent activation of the caspase-cascade, thus protecting cells from apoptosis under serum deprivation stress. Furthermore, both cytokines induced hyperactivation of autophagy in these cells. Upon CCL2 or IL-6 stimulation, CD11b(+) cells demonstrated a significant increase in the mannose receptor (CD206) and the CD14(+)/CD206(+) double-positive cells, suggesting a polarization of macrophages toward the CD206(+) M2-type phenotype. Caspase-8 inhibitors mimicked the cytokine-induced up-regulation of autophagy and M2 polarization. Furthermore, E64D and leupeptin, which are able to function as inhibitors of autophagic degradation, reversed the effect of caspase-8 inhibitors in the M2-macrophage polarization, indicating a role of autophagy in this mechanism. Additionally, in patients with advanced castrate-resistant prostate cancer, metastatic lesions exhibited an increased CD14(+)/CD206(+) double-positive cell population compared with normal tissues. Altogether, these findings suggest a role for CCL2 and IL-6 in the survival of myeloid monocytes recruited to the tumor microenvironment and their differentiation toward tumor-promoting M2-type macrophages via inhibition of caspase-8 cleavage and enhanced autophagy.

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