In these experiments, resting TAM as well as LPS-stimulated TAM reduced the cytolytic NK cell function by 35% (P = 0.0098) and 27% (P = 0.0074), respectively. Taken together, we confirmed that freshly isolated HCC-associated macrophages display immune inhibitory functions ex vivo, which in response to sorafenib were reversed, eventually leading to NK cell activation. Our study shows that sorafenib sensitized TAM for exogenous immune stimuli, which eventually accelerated cytotoxicity http://www.selleckchem.com/products/nivolumab.html of cocultured NK cells against tumor cells. This sorafenib effect was based on an NF-κB-dependent switch from inhibitory towards immune stimulatory TAM responses. We therefore propose that sorafenib—besides its direct effect on tumor cells—has an immune stimulatory function. We observed that Mϕ or TAM are pivotal for sorafenib-triggered NK cell stimulation. Blocking experiments confirmed cytokine signaling between both cell types, albeit cell contact remained relevant for NK cell activation by sorafenib. Nonsecreted cytokines exposed on the Mϕ surface might explain this partially contact-dependent NK cell activation.19, 20 Cytokine expression in Mϕ and TAM is to a large part NF-κB-dependent.21 This also applied to sorafenib-stimulated Mϕ cultures, in which sorafenib triggered NF-κB activation despite its known NF-κB inhibitory properties10, 22 under certain conditions. This may include GSK-3 assay the
polarization MCE公司 of TAM, as inhibition of NF-κB in TAM has been reported to induce antitumoral immune responses.23 Sorafenib targets, such as the CSF-receptor-1,24 MAPKp38,12 and JAK/STAT,25 which are pivotal for Mϕ maturation, support this finding.26-28 Sorafenib-mediated cytokine induction in polarized
Mϕ might therefore rely on complex signaling networks. In line with this hypothesis, cytokine induction peaked at a certain sorafenib dose range (0.6-1.2 μg/mL), indicating a shift between immune-activating versus blocking effects. The activating dose range fits with sorafenib concentrations in the extravascular compartment29 and therefore seems appropriate to study intratumoral effects. NF-κB inhibition by sorafenib as observed in other studies was achieved using higher concentrations10, 22 resembling sorafenib plasma levels.30 Sorafenib-triggered NK cell activation was dependent on LPS as an exogenous Mϕ stimulating factor. LPS is abundant in the portal system31 and contributes to hepatocarcinogenesis.32In vivo relevance of LPS for sorafenib-triggered NK cell activation was demonstrated by a selected activation of NK cells in the murine liver, in contrast to unresponsive splenic NK cells, which receive no LPS stimulation. The apoptotic cell encounter, which maintains an antiinflammatory tumor environment by way of STAT-3 activation in TAM,33 also led to NK cell activation after sorafenib treatment in cell culture.