Elucidating the role of mesenchymal stem cell participation in the tumor microenvironment

Shannon Michelle Kidd, The University of Texas Grad. Sch. of Biomed. Sci. at Houston


To meet the requirements for rapid tumor growth, a complex array of non-neoplastic vascular, fibroblastic, and immune cells are recruited to the tumor microenvironment. Understanding the origin, composition, and mechanism(s) for recruitment of these stromal components will help identify areas for therapeutic intervention. Previous findings have suggested that ex-vivo expanded bone marrow-derived MSC home to the sites of tumor development, responding to inflammatory signals and can serve as effective drug delivery vehicles. Therefore, we first sought to fully assess conditions under which MSC migrate to and incorporate into inflammatory microenvironments and the consequences of modulated inflammation. MSC delivered to animals bearing inflammatory insults were monitored by bioluminescence imaging and displayed specific tropism and selective incorporation into all tumor and wound sites. These findings were consistent across routes of tumor establishment, MSC administration, and immunocompetence. MSC were then used as drug delivery vehicles, transporting Interferon β to sites of pancreatic tumors. This therapy was effective at inhibiting pancreatic tumor growth under homeostatic conditions, but inhibition was lost when inflammation was decreased with CDDO-Me combination treatment. Next, to examine the endogenous tumor microenvironment, a series of tissue transplant experiments were carried out in which tissues were genetically labeled and engrafted in recipients prior to tumor establishment. Tumors were then analyzed for markers of tumor associated fibroblasts (TAF): α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), nerve glia antigen 2 (NG2), fibroblast activation protein (FAP), and fibroblast specific protein (FSP) as well as endothelial marker CD31 and macrophage marker F4/80. We determined the majority of α-SMA+, NG2+ and CD31+ cells were non-bone marrow derived, while most FAP+, FSP+, and F4/80+ cells were recruited from the bone marrow. In accord, transplants of prospectively isolated BM MSC prior to tumor development indicated that these cells were recruited to the tumor microenvironment and co-expressed FAP and FSP. In contrast, fat transplant experiments revealed recruited fat derived cells co-expressed α-SMA, NG2, and CD31. These results indicate TAF are a heterogeneous population composed of subpopulations with distinct tissues of origin. These models have provided a platform upon which further investigation into tumor microenvironment composition and tests for candidate drugs can be performed. ^

Subject Area

Biology, Cell

Recommended Citation

Kidd, Shannon Michelle, "Elucidating the role of mesenchymal stem cell participation in the tumor microenvironment" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3376907.