Chemical sympathectomy suppresses fibrosarcoma development and improves survival of tumor-bearing rats

Neoplasma. 2011;58(5):424-9. doi: 10.4149/neo_2011_05_424.


Both experimental and clinical data indicate that the sympathetic nervous system may affect the development of certain tumors. To test this, in the present study we combined in vivo and in vitro approaches to study the effect of the sympathetic nervous system on proliferation of BP6-TU2 fibrosarcoma cells. First, we investigated the effect of 6-hydroxydopamine-induced sympathectomy on tumor development and survival of tumor-bearing rats. One week after chemical sympathectomy, we injected the BP6-TU2 fibrosarcoma cells intraperitoneally into male Wistar rats. The sympathectomy significantly reduced the incidence of intraperitoneal tumors and resulted in significantly improved survival of tumor-bearing rats compared to those with intact sympathetic innervation. Using immunohistochemical methods, we found neuron-specific enolase immunopositive structures within fibrosarcoma tissue, indicating innervation of tumors. Finally, an in vitro study showed elevated proliferation of BP6-TU2 fibrosarcoma cells in response to adding norepinephrine to the culture medium. Our findings indicate that sympathetic nerves directly potentiate the proliferation of BP6-TU2 fibrosarcoma cells in rats.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Fibrosarcoma / pathology
  • Fibrosarcoma / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Male
  • Norepinephrine / pharmacology
  • Oxidopamine
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sarcoma, Experimental / pathology
  • Sarcoma, Experimental / prevention & control*
  • Survival Rate
  • Sympathectomy, Chemical*
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / physiology*
  • Sympatholytics
  • Sympathomimetics / pharmacology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Sympatholytics
  • Sympathomimetics
  • Oxidopamine
  • Norepinephrine