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J Cell Physiol. 2014 Nov;229(11):1595-606. doi: 10.1002/jcp.24601.

PPARγ and RXR ligands disrupt the inflammatory cross-talk in the hypoxic breast cancer stem cells niche.

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Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.


Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are affected by the local micro-environment, the niche, in which inflammatory stimuli and hypoxia act as steering factors. Here, two nuclear receptors (NRs) agonists, i.e. pioglitazone (PGZ), a ligand of peroxisome proliferator activated receptor-γ, and 6-OH-11-O-hydroxyphenanthrene (IIF), a ligand of retinoid X receptors, were investigated for their capability to interference with the cross-talk between breast CSCs and the niche compartment. We found that IIF potentiates the ability of PGZ to hamper the mammospheres-forming capability of human breast tumours and MCF7 cancer cells, reducing the expression of CSCs regulatory genes (Notch3, Jagged1, SLUG, Interleukin-6, Apolipoprotein E, Hypoxia inducible factor-1α and Carbonic anhydrase IX). Notably, these effects are not observed in normal-MS obtained from human breast tissue. Importantly, NRs agonists abolish the capability of hypoxic MCF7 derived exosomes to induce a pro-inflammatory phenotype in mammary glands fibroblasts. Moreover, NRs agonist also directly acts on breast tumour associated fibroblasts to downregulate nuclear factor-κB pathway and metalloproteinases (MMP2 and MMP9) expression and activity. In conclusion, NRs agonists disrupt the inflammatory cross-talk of the hypoxic breast CSCs niche.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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