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Int J Cancer. 2009 Aug 15;125(4):887-93. doi: 10.1002/ijc.24448.

IL-8 induces exocytosis of arginase 1 by neutrophil polymorphonuclears in nonsmall cell lung cancer.

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Department of Translational Oncology, Istituto Nazionale per la Ricerca sul Cancro, Genova, Italy.


Arginase 1 (ARG1) inhibits T-cell proliferation by degrading extracellular arginine, which results in decreased responsiveness of T cells to CD3/TCR stimulation. In humans, ARG1 is stored in inactive form within granules of polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) and gets activated on release. We studied the role of PMNs-related ARG1 activity in nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSLC), in which tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes showed reduced proliferation in response to CD3/TCR triggering. Patients with NSCLC had increased ARG1 plasma levels as compared to healthy controls. Furthermore, immunohistochemistry showed that tumor-infiltrating PMNs display reduced intracellular ARG1, in comparison to intravascular or peritumoral PMNs, suggesting a role of tumor microenvironment in ARG1 release. Indeed, supernatants of NSCLC cell lines induced exocytosis of ARG1 from PMNs. All (4/4) NSCLC cell lines and all (7/7) CD14- cell samples from NSCLC expressed interleukin (IL)-8 mRNA, whereas TNFalpha mRNA was expressed by 1 cell line and by 2 tumor specimens. Furthermore, all NSCLC cell lines secreted immunoreactive IL-8, albeit at different levels. IL-8 was as effective as TNFalpha in triggering ARG1 release and the 2 cytokines acted synergistically. Secreted ARG1 was biologically active and catabolized extracellular arginine. The supernatant of IL-8 gene-silenced NSCLC cells did not mediate ARG1 release by PMNs. Altogether these findings demonstrate a role of IL-8 in ARG1 exocytosis by PMNs and indicate that, due at least in part to IL-8 secreted by NSCLC cells, PMNs infiltrating NSCLC release ARG1. This phenomenon could contribute to local immune suppression.

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