Renal cancer-derived exosomes induce tumor immune tolerance by antigen-specific immunosuppression

Although Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) have a prominent ability to suppress the immune responses of T lymphocytes and propel tumor immune escape, a lack of profound systemic immunesuppression in tumor-bearing mice and tumor patients. The underlying mechanism of these remains unclear.

For this purpose, renal cancer-derived exosomes (RDEs) were first labeled with PKH67 and been observed the internalization by MDSCs. Flow cytometry analysis showed the proportion and activity change of MDSCs in spleen and bone marrow induced by RDEs. Further, western blot experiments were used to verify triggered mechanism of MDSCs by RDEs. Finally, proliferation and cytotoxicity of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) co-cultured with MDSCs in vitro and a series of experiments in vivo were performed to demonstrate the specific inhibitory effect of RDEs-induced MDSCs.

This study suggested that RDEs crucially contributed to presenting antigenic information, activating and driving specific immunosuppressive effect to MDSCs. HSP70, which is highly expressed in RDEs, initiate this process in a toll like receptor 2 (TLR2)-dependent manner. Importantly, RDEs-induced MDSCs could exert an antigen-specific immunosuppression effect on CTL and specific promote renal tumors-growth and immune escape in consequence.

The immunosuppression mediated by MDSCs which is induced by RDEs is antigen-specific. HSP70, which is highly expressed in RDEs, plays a pivotal role in this process. Targeted abrogating the function of MDSCs, or eliminating the expression of HSP70 in exosomes, or blocking the crosstalk between them provides a new direction and theoretical support for future immunotherapy.

Gao Y, Xu H, Li N, Wang H, Ma L, Chen S, Liu J, Zheng Y, Zhang Y. (2020) Renal cancer-derived exosomes induce tumor immune tolerance by MDSCs-mediated antigen-specific immunosuppression. Cell Commun Signal 18(1):106. [article]

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