J Cancer 2018; 9(2):239-249. doi:10.7150/jca.21336

Research Paper

Early and Partial Reduction in CD4+Foxp3+ Regulatory T Cells during Colitis-Associated Colon Cancer Induces CD4+ and CD8+ T Cell Activation Inhibiting Tumorigenesis

Jonadab E. Olguín1,2, Itzel Medina-Andrade1, Emmanuel Molina1, Armando Vázquez1, Thalia Pacheco-Fernández1, Rafael Saavedra3, Carlos Pérez-Plasencia1, Yolanda I. Chirino1, Felipe Vaca-Paniagua1,2, Luis E. Arias-Romero1, Emma B. Gutierrez-Cirlos1, Sonia A. León-Cabrera1, Miriam Rodriguez-Sosa1, Luis I. Terrazas1,2✉

1. Unidad de Biomedicina, Facultad de Estudios Superiores Iztacala, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM),
2. Laboratorio Nacional en Salud: Diagnóstico Molecular y Efecto Ambiental en Enfermedades Crónico-degenerativas, UNAM,
3. Departamento de Inmunología, Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas, UNAM


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and the third in men in North America and Europe. CRC is associated with inflammatory responses in which intestinal pathology is caused by different cell populations including a T cell dysregulation that concludes in an imbalance between activated T (Tact) and regulatory T (Treg) cells. Treg cells are CD4+Foxp3+ cells that actively suppress pathological and physiological immune responses, contributing to the maintenance of immune homeostasis. A tumor-promoting function for Treg cells has been suggested in CRC, but the kinetics of Treg cells during CRC development are poorly known. Therefore, using a mouse model of colitis-associated colon cancer (CAC) induced by azoxymethane and dextran sodium sulfate, we observed the dynamic and differential kinetics of Treg cells in blood, spleen and mesenteric lymph nodes (MLNs) as CAC progresses, highlighting a significant reduction in Treg cells in blood and spleen during early CAC development, whereas increasing percentages of Treg cells were detected in late stages in MLNs. Interestingly, when Treg cells were decreased, Tact cells were increased and vice versa. Treg cells from late stages of CAC displayed an activated phenotype by expressing PD1, CD127 and Tim-3, suggesting an increased suppressive capacity. Suppression assays showed that T-CD4+ and T-CD8+ cells were suppressed more efficiently by MLN Treg cells from CAC animals. Finally, an antibody-mediated reduction in Treg cells during early CAC development resulted in a better prognostic value, because animals showed a reduction in tumor progression associated with an increased percentage of activated CD4+CD25+Foxp3- and CD8+CD25+ T cells in MLNs, suggesting that Treg cells suppress T cell activation at early steps during CAC development.

Keywords: Regulatory T cells, colorectal cancer, depletion, Activated T cells, CD8+ cells

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How to cite this article:
Olguín JE, Medina-Andrade I, Molina E, Vázquez A, Pacheco-Fernández T, Saavedra R, Pérez-Plasencia C, Chirino YI, Vaca-Paniagua F, Arias-Romero LE, Gutierrez-Cirlos EB, León-Cabrera SA, Rodriguez-Sosa M, Terrazas LI. Early and Partial Reduction in CD4+Foxp3+ Regulatory T Cells during Colitis-Associated Colon Cancer Induces CD4+ and CD8+ T Cell Activation Inhibiting Tumorigenesis. J Cancer 2018; 9(2):239-249. doi:10.7150/jca.21336. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v09p0239.htm