Monocyte galactose/N-acetylgalactosamine-specific C-type lectin receptor stimulant immunotherapy of an experimental glioma. Part 1: stimulatory effects on blood monocytes and monocyte-derived cells of the brain

Cancer Manag Res. 2012;4:309-23. doi: 10.2147/CMAR.S33248. Epub 2012 Sep 17.


Objectives: Immunotherapy with immunostimulants is an attractive therapy against gliomas. C-type lectin receptors specific for galactose/N-acetylgalactosamine (GCLR) regulate cellular differentiation, recognition, and trafficking of monocyte-derived cells. A peptide mimetic of GCLR ligands (GCLRP) was used to activate blood monocytes and populations of myeloid-derived cells against a murine glioblastoma.

Methods: The ability of GCLRP to stimulate phagocytosis by human microglia and monocyte-derived cells of the brain (MDCB) isolated from a human glioblastoma was initially assessed in vitro. Induction of activation markers on blood monocytes was assayed by flow cytometry after administration of GCLRP to naive mice. C57BL/6 mice underwent stereotactic intracranial implantation of GL261 glioma cells and were randomized for tumor size by magnetic resonance imaging, which was also used to assess increase in tumor size. Brain tumor tissues were analyzed using flow cytometry, histology, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay with respect to tumor, peritumoral area, and contralateral hemisphere regions.

Results: GCLRP exhibited strong stimulatory effect on MDCBs and blood monocytes in vitro and in vivo. GCLRP was associated with an increased percentage of precursors of dendritic cells in the blood (P = 0.003), which differentiated into patrolling macrophages in tumoral (P = 0.001) and peritumoral areas (P = 0.04), rather than into dendritic cells, as in control animals. Treatment with GCLRP did not result in a significant change in survival of mice bearing a tumor.

Conclusions: In vitro and in vivo activation of monocytes was achieved by administration of GCLR to mice. GCLRP-activated blood monocytes were recruited to the brain and exhibited specific phenotypes corresponding with tumor region (glioma, peritumoral zone, and contralateral glioma-free hemisphere). GCLRP treatment alone was associated with increased glioma mass as the result of the infiltration of phagocytic cells. Regional specificity for MDCB may have significant tumor treatment implications.

Keywords: C-type lectin receptors; brain tumor; galactose/N-acetylgalactosamine; glioblastoma; immunotherapy; macrophages; microglia; mouse; peptide.