The contributions of the innate immune system to the development of pancreatic cancer are still ill defined. Inflammatory macrophages can initiate metaplasia of pancreatic acinar cells to a duct-like phenotype (acinar-to-ductal metaplasia [ADM]), which then gives rise to pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN) when oncogenic KRas is present. However, it remains unclear when and how this inflammatory macrophage population is replaced by tumor-promoting macrophages. Here, we demonstrate the presence of interleukin-13 (IL-13), which can convert inflammatory into Ym1+ alternatively activated macrophages, at ADM/PanIN lesions. We further show that Ym1+ macrophages release factors, such as IL-1ra and CCL2, to drive pancreatic fibrogenesis and tumorigenesis. Treatment of mice expressing oncogenic KRas under an acinar cell-specific promoter with a neutralizing antibody for IL-13 significantly decreased the accumulation of alternatively activated macrophages at these lesions, resulting in decreased fibrosis and lesion growth.
Keywords: CCL-2; IL-13; IL-1ra; PanIN; Tuft cells; interleukin-13; macrophages; metaplasia; pancreatic cancer; polarization.
Copyright © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.