Modulating Tumor-Associated Macrophage Polarization by Synthetic and Natural PPARγ Ligands as a Potential Target in Breast Cancer
Activation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) elicits anti-proliferative effects on different tumor cells, including those derived from breast cancer. PPARγ is also expressed in several cells of the breast tumor microenvironment, among which tumor associated macrophages (TAMs) play a pivotal role in tumor progression and metastasis. We explored the ability of synthetic and natural PPARγ ligands to modulate TAM polarization. The ligands included rosiglitazone
... and two docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) conjugates, N-docosahexaenoyl ethanolamine (DHEA) and N-docosahexaenoyl serotonin (DHA-5-HT). Human THP-1 monocytic cells were differentiated into M0, M1 and M2 macrophages that were characterized by qRT-PCR, ELISA and western blotting. A TAM-like phenotypic state was generated by adding two different breast cancer cell conditioned media (BCC-CM) to the cultures. Macrophages exposed to BCC-CM concomitantly exhibited M1 and M2 phenotypes. Interestingly, rosiglitazone, DHEA and DHA-5-HT attenuated cytokine secretion by TAMs, and this effect was reversed by the PPARγ antagonist GW9662. Given the key role played by PPARγ in the crosstalk between cancer cells and TAMs in tumor progression, its activation via endogenous or synthetic ligands may lead to novel strategies that target both epithelial neoplastic cells and the tumor microenvironment.