CECR1-mediated cross talk between macrophages and vascular mural cells promotes neovascularization in malignant glioma

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Abstract

Glioblastomas (glioblastoma multiforme, GBM) are most malignant brain tumors characterized by profound vascularization. The activation of macrophages strongly contributes to tumor angiogenesis during GBM development. Previously, we showed that extracellular adenosine deaminase protein Cat Eye Syndrome Critical Region Protein 1 (CECR1) is highly expressed by M2-like macrophages in GBM where it defines macrophage M2 polarization and contributes to tumor expansion. In this study, the effect of CECR1 in macrophages on tumor angiogenesis was investigated. Immunohistochemical evaluation of GBM tissue samples showed that the expression of CECR1 correlates with microvascular density in the tumors, confirming data from the TCGA set. In a threedimensional co-culture system consisting of human pericytes, human umbilical vein endothelial cells and THP1-derived macrophages, CECR1 knockdown by siRNA and CECR1 stimulation of macrophages inhibited and promoted new vessel formation, respectively. Loss and gain of function studies demonstrated that PDGFB mRNA and protein levels in macrophages are modulated by CECR1. The proangiogenic properties of CECR1 in macrophages were partially mediated via paracrine activation of pericytes by PDGFB-PDGFRβ signaling. CECR1-PDGFB-PDGFRβ cross-activation between macrophages and pericytes promoted pericyte migration, shown by transwell migration assay, and enhanced expression and deposition of periostin, a matrix component with proangiogenic properties. CECR1 function in (M2-like) macrophages mediates cross talk between macrophages and pericytes in GBM via paracrine PDGFB-PDGFRβ signaling, promoting pericyte recruitment and migration, and tumor angiogenesis. Therefore, CECR1 offers a new portent target for anti-angiogenic therapy in GBM via immune modulation.

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