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BMC Immunol. 2009 Feb 18;10:11. doi: 10.1186/1471-2172-10-11.

Dynamics of central and peripheral immunomodulation in a murine glioma model.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Gabriele Bartoli Brain Tumor Research Laboratory Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.



Immunosuppression by gliomas contributes to tumor progression and treatment resistance. It is not known when immunosuppression occurs during tumor development but it likely involves cross-talk among tumor cells, tumor-associated macrophages and microglia (TAMs), and peripheral as well as tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs).


We have performed a kinetic study of this immunomodulation, assessing the dynamics of immune infiltration and function, within the central nervous system (CNS) and peripherally. PDGF-driven murine glioma cells were injected into the white matter of 13 mice. Four mice were sacrificed 13 days post-injection (dpi), four mice at 26 dpi, and five mice at 40 dpi. Using multiparameter flow cytometry, splenic T cells were assessed for FoxP3 expression to identify regulatory T cells (Tregs) and production of IFN-gamma and IL-10 after stimulation with PMA/ionomycin; within the CNS, CD4+ TILs were quantified, and TAMs were quantified and assessed for TNF-alpha and IL-10 production after stimulation with LPS. Peripheral changes associated with tumor development were noted prior to effects within the CNS. The percentage of FoxP3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) increased by day 26, with elevated frequencies throughout the duration of the study. This early increase in Tregs was paralleled by an increase in IL-10 production from Tregs. At the final time points examined (tumor morbidity or 40 dpi), there was an increase in the frequency of TAMs with decreased capacity to secrete TNF-alpha. An increase in TIL frequency was also observed at these final time points.


These data provide insight into the kinetics of the immunosuppressive state associated with tumor growth in a murine model of human gliomas. Functional impairment of TAMs occurs relatively late in the course of GBM tumor growth, potentially providing a window of opportunity for therapeutic strategies directed towards preventing their functional impairment.

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