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Mimicking the Endometrial Cancer Tumor Microenvironment to Reprogram Tumor-Associated Macrophages in Disintegrable Supramolecular Gelatin Hydrogel

Authors Huang Y, Feng Q, Jiang H, Zhou W, Chen J, Gao J, Wang K, Wan X, Yu Y

Received 2 March 2020

Accepted for publication 9 June 2020

Published 25 June 2020 Volume 2020:15 Pages 4625—4637

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S252074

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Linlin Sun


Yujia Huang,1,2,* Qian Feng,3,* Huabo Jiang,1,* Wanding Zhou,1,2 Jinhong Chen,2 Jie Gao,4 Kai Wang,1 Xiaoping Wan,2 Yongsheng Yu1

1Clinical and Translational Research Center, Shanghai First Maternity and Infant Hospital, Tongji University School of Medicine, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Gynecology, Shanghai First Maternity and Infant Hospital, Tongji University School of Medicine, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China; 3Fujian Provincial Key Laboratory of Advanced Materials Oriented Chemical Engineering, College of Chemistry and Materials Science, Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou, People’s Republic of China; 4Institute of Translational Medicine, Shanghai University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence: Xiaoping Wan; Yongsheng Yu Email wanxiaoping61@126.com; yongshengyu@tongji.edu.cn

Purpose: Besides the tumor cells themselves, solid tumors are comprised of numerous cell types including infiltrating immune cells such as tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). TAMs are vital stromal components of host immune system and play a critical role in the development of cancer. TAMs can be divided into two subtypes: M1 tumor-suppressive macrophage and M2 tumor-supportive macrophage. To better address the observations of TAMs functional performance, we describe an in vitro system that mimics the populations of TAMs infiltrated into the tumor mass by using our disintegrable supramolecular gelatin (DSG) hydrogels, which are physically crosslinked by host-guest complexations.
Materials and Methods: The host–guest interaction was adopted between the aromatic groups of gelatin and the photocrosslinkable acrylated β-cyclodextrins (Ac-β-CDs) to form the DSG hydrogels. The convenient macrophage/endometrial cancer cells heterospheroid 3D model was set up by DSG hydrogels. RT-PCR and Western blot assays were developed to evaluate the efficiencies of inducers on the macrophages. The ELISA and oxygen saturation assays were performed to measure the secretion of VEGF and consumption of oxygen of tumor and/or macrophages, respectively. To determine the antitumor effects of M2 reprogrammed macrophages in vitro and in vivo, migration assay and tumor xenograft model were used, respectively.
Results: The host-guest complexations of DSG hydrogels were controllably broken efficiently by soaking into the solution of competitive guest monomers 1-adamantanamine hydrochloride. The DSG hydrogels help IFN-γ reprogram the M2 to M1 and then decrease the tumor/M2 reprogrammed macrophage cells heterospheroid secretion of VEGF and increase the relative oxygen saturation. Significantly, the co-cultural tumor/M2 reprogrammed group from the disintegrated DSG hydrogels reduced the migration of cancer cells in vitro and the tumor growth in vivo.
Conclusion: We obtain a TAMs/tumor microenvironment-responsive 3D model based on the novel DSG hydrogels, and will be of utility in cancer therapy and drug discovery.

Keywords: supramolecular hydrogel, disintegration, host-guest complexations, tumor mimic model, tumor-associated macrophages, TAMs

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