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Irradiation-Induced Activated Microglia Affect Brain Metastatic Colonization of NSCLC Cells via miR-9/CDH1 Axis

Authors Jin Y, Kang Y, Peng X, Yang L, Li Q, Mei Q, Chen X, Hu G, Tang Y, Yuan X

Received 12 January 2021

Accepted for publication 20 February 2021

Published 16 March 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 1911—1922

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OTT.S301412

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Nicola Silvestris


Yu Jin,1 Yalin Kang,1 Xiaohong Peng,1 Li Yang,2 Qianxia Li,1 Qi Mei,1 Xinyi Chen,1 Guangyuan Hu,1 Yang Tang,1 Xianglin Yuan1

1Department of Oncology, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei Province, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Hematology, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei Province, People’s Republic of China

Correspondence: Yang Tang; Xianglin Yuan
Department of Oncology, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, 1095 Jiefang Avenue, Wuhan, Hubei Province, China
Tel +86-27-83663342
Email [email protected]; [email protected]

Background and Purpose: Brain metastasis is among the leading causes of death in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Through yet unknown mechanisms, prophylactic cranial irradiation (PCI) can significantly decrease the incidence of brain metastases. Given that PCI probably exerts indirect anti-tumoral effects by turning cerebral “soil” unfavorable for the colonization of metastatic tumor “seeds”. This study aims to reveal how PCI regulates the brain microenvironment conducing to a reduction in brain metastases.
Materials and Methods: Key markers of M1/M2 microglia types and mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET) were analyzed by qRT-PCR and Western Blot in vitro. The target miR-9 was obtained by miRNA array analysis and confirmed by qRT-PCR in microglia. We used miRTarBase and TargetScan to analyze the target genes of miR-9 and confirmed by luciferase activity assay. Anti-metastatic effects of irradiation on the brain were evaluated by intravital imaging using a brain metastatic A549-F3 cell line in a nude mouse model.
Results: Irradiation induced M1 microglia activation, which inhibited the MET process of A549 cell lines. Furthermore, levels of miR-9 secreted by irradiated M1 microglia significantly increased and played a vital role in the inhibition of the A549 MET process by directly targeting CDH1, concurrently decreasing cell capacity for localization in the brain, thus reducing brain metastases.
Conclusion: We demonstrated that miR-9 secreted by irradiated M1-type microglia played an important role in modulating A549 cell lines into mesenchymal phenotype and further decreased their localization capabilities in the brain. Our findings signify the modulating effect of irradiation on metastatic soil and the cross-talk between tumour cells and the metastatic microenvironment; importantly, they provide new opportunities for effective anti-metastasis therapies, especially for brain metastasis patients.

Keywords: non-small-cell lung cancer, brain metastasis, cranial irradiation, microglia, miR-9

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