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J Clin Invest. 2011 May;121(5):1692-708. doi: 10.1172/JCI42540. Epub 2011 Apr 25.

Tumor development in murine ulcerative colitis depends on MyD88 signaling of colonic F4/80+CD11b(high)Gr1(low) macrophages.

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Department of Surgery, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany.


Patients with prolonged ulcerative colitis (UC) frequently develop colorectal adenocarcinoma for reasons that are not fully clear. To analyze inflammation-associated colonic tumorigenesis, we developed a chronic form of oxazolone-induced colitis in mice that, similar to UC, was distinguished by the presence of IL-13-producing NKT cells. In this model, the induction of tumors using azoxymethane was accompanied by the coappearance of F4/80+CD11b(high)Gr1(low) M2 macrophages, cells that undergo polarization by IL-13 and are absent in tumors that lack high level IL-13 production. Importantly, this subset of macrophages was a source of tumor-promoting factors, including IL-6. Similar to dextran sodium sulfate-induced colitis, F4/80+CD11b(high)Gr1(intermediate) macrophages were present in the mouse model of chronic oxazolone-induced colitis and may influence tumor development through production of TGF-β1, a cytokine that inhibits tumor immunosurveillance. Finally, while robust chronic oxazolone-induced colitis developed in myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88-deficient (Myd88-/-) mice, these mice did not support tumor development. The inhibition of tumor development in Myd88-/- mice correlated with cessation of IL-6 and TGF-β1 production by M2 and F4/80+CD11b(high)Gr1(intermediate) macrophages, respectively, and was reversed by exogenous IL-6. These data show that an UC-like inflammation may facilitate tumor development by providing a milieu favoring development of MyD88-dependent tumor-supporting macrophages.

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