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Tumoral immune suppression by macrophages expressing fibroblast activation protein-α and heme oxygenase-1.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

James Noble Arnold, Lukasz Magiera, Matthew Kraman, Douglas fearon

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-126
Number of pages5
JournalCancer immunology research
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2014

King's Authors


The depletion of tumor stromal cells that are marked by their expression of the membrane protein fibroblast activation protein-α (FAP) overcomes immune suppression and allows an anticancer cell immune response to control tumor growth. In subcutaneous tumors established with immunogenic Lewis lung carcinoma cells expressing ovalbumin (LL2/OVA), the FAP(+) population is comprised of CD45(+) and CD45(-) cells. In the present study, we further characterize the tumoral FAP(+)/CD45(+) population as a minor subpopulation of F4/80(hi)/CCR2(+)/CD206(+) M2 macrophages. Using bone marrow chimeric mice in which the primate diphtheria toxin receptor is restricted either to the FAP(+)/CD45(+) or to the FAP(+)/CD45(-) subset, we demonstrate by conditionally depleting each subset that both independently contribute to the immune-suppressive tumor microenvironment. A basis for the function of the FAP(+)/CD45(+) subset is shown to be the immune inhibitory enzyme, heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1). The FAP(+)/CD45(+) cells are the major tumoral source of HO-1, and an inhibitor of HO-1, Sn mesoporphyrin, causes the same extent of immune-dependent arrest of LL2/OVA tumor growth as does the depletion of these cells. Because this observation of immune suppression by HO-1 expressed by the FAP(+)/CD45(+) stromal cell is replicated in a transplanted model of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, we conclude that pharmacologically targeting this enzyme may improve cancer immunotherapy.

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