Host factors in metastasis: Direct lysis of bloodborne metastatic tumor cells by murine vascular endothelial cells

Limin Li, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


During the process of cancer metastasis, the majority of circulating tumor cells arrest in microcapillary beds and then rapidly die. To study whether vascular endothelial cells can directly lyse tumor cells, we isolated vascular endothelial cells by perfusion of lungs from immunocompetent or nude mice. The cells were grown in culture, and then cloned and characterized. Cloned endothelial cells were incubated with several lymphokines and cytokines. Cells incubated with IFN-$\gamma$ and TNF lysed a variety of tumor cells with different metastatic potential. Mouse skin and lung fibroblasts treated with the same cytokines did not. Endothelial cell mediated tumor cell lysis was not due to different binding ability of tumor cells to cytokine treated and untreated endothelial monolayers. Kinetic studies demonstrated that the continuous presence of cytokines in the tumor-endothelial cocultures was necessary to produce maximal lysis of tumor cells. Target cell lysis was not due to the direct effects of IFN-$\gamma$ or TNF, since vascular endothelial cells isolated from the lung of nude mice lysed human melanoma cells that are sensitive or resistant to TNF. Cytokine treated endothelial cells produced a high level of nitric oxide, which is known to be cytotoxic to a variety of target cells. The level of nitric oxide production was directly correlated with the degree of tumor cell lysis. A specific inhibitor of nitric oxide synthesis(N$\sp{\rm G}$-monomethyl-L-arginine), completely inhibited production of nitric oxide and tumor cell lysis. Treatment of cytokine activated endothelial cells with dexamethasone also inhibited tumor cell lysis. This inhibition was independent of tumor-endothelial adhesion but correlated with inhibition of nitric oxide production. Collectively, these results suggest that vascular endothelial cells can directly destory tumor emboli and thus play an active role in the pathogenesis of cancer metastasis.

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Recommended Citation

Li, Limin, "Host factors in metastasis: Direct lysis of bloodborne metastatic tumor cells by murine vascular endothelial cells" (1990). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9109706.