Mast cells mobilize myeloid-derived suppressor cells and Treg cells in tumor microenvironment via IL-17 pathway in murine hepatocarcinoma model

PLoS One. 2010 Jan 27;5(1):e8922. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008922.


Tumor immunosuppression is commonly braided with chronic inflammation during tumor development. However, the relationship between immunosuppression and inflammation in tumor microenvironment is still unclear. We have demonstrated that mast cells are accumulated and exacerbate the inflammation and immunosuppression in tumor microenvironment via SCF/c-kit signaling pathway. Here, we further elucidate the underlying mechanism, which involves both myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and regulatory T (Treg) cells. Our data showed that mast cells mobilized the infiltration of MDSCs to tumor and induced the production of IL-17 by MDSCs; MDSCs-derived IL-17 indirectly attracted Treg cells, enhanced their suppressor function, and induced the IL-9 production by Treg cells; in turn, IL-9 strengthened the survival and protumor effect of mast cells in tumor microenvironment. Our findings disclose a closed loop among mast cells, MDSCs and Treg cells in tumor microenvironment, which provides a new insight into the paralleled developments of inflammation and immunosuppression in tumor microenvironment. Based on these findings, we propose that targeting tumor inflammation might be a potential strategy to reverse the immunosuppression of tumor microenvironment, thus facilitating cancer immunotherapy.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chemokines / physiology
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Interleukin-17 / physiology*
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / immunology*
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology
  • Mast Cells / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*


  • Chemokines
  • Interleukin-17