Macrophages are key players in the inflammatory response. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that although all macrophage subpopulations in tumor hosts are affected by the disease, it is the close proximity to the tumor that induces major alterations in these cells. We compared tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) with peritoneal macrophages from mice bearing D1-DMBA-3 mammary tumors (T-PEMs). Our results show that TAMs downregulate IL-12p70 but upregulate IL-12p40, IL-23, IL-6 and IL-10. Some NFκB and C/EBP transcription factors family members are decreased in TAMs; however NFκBp50 homodimers, STAT1/pSTAT1 and STAT3/pSTAT3 are overexpressed. Furthermore, while TAMs block T-cell proliferation and are more prone to apoptosis compared to T-PEMs, both types of macrophages have an impaired phagocytic capacity. Moreover, TAMs constitutively express iNOS and produce nitric oxide but do not express arginase and are Gr-1high and CD11blow. Collectively, our analysis of two spatially distinct macrophage subpopulations in tumor-bearing mice revealed that the tumor modulates them differently into two molecularly and functionally dissimilar macrophage subpopulations.
- Peritoneal and tumor-associated macrophages
- Tumor microenvironment
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