Immunosuppressive effects of hypoxia-induced glioma exosomes through myeloid-derived suppressor cells via the miR-10a/Rora and miR-21/Pten Pathways

Oncogene. 2018 Aug;37(31):4239-4259. doi: 10.1038/s41388-018-0261-9. Epub 2018 May 1.


While immunosuppressive environments mediated by myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) have been well documented in glioma patients, the mechanisms of MDSC development and activation have not been clearly defined. Here, we elucidated a role for glioma-derived exosomes (GDEs) in potentiating an MDSC pathway. We isolated normoxia-stimulated and hypoxia-stimulated GDEs and studied their MDSC induction abilities in vivo and in vitro. Analyses of spleen and bone marrow MDSC proportions (flow cytometry) and reactive oxygen species (ROS), arginase activity, nitric oxide (NO), T-cell proliferation and immunosuppressive cytokine (IL-10 and TGF-β, ELISA) levels were used to assess MDSC expansion and functional capacity. We also performed microRNA (miRNA) sequencing analysis of two types of GDEs to find miRNAs that potentially mediate the development and activation of MDSCs. GDE miRNA intracellular signaling in MDSCs was also studied. Hypoxia promoted the secretion of GDEs, and mouse MDSCs could uptake GDEs. Hypoxia-stimulated GDEs had a stronger ability to induce MDSCs than N-GDEs. The hypoxia-inducible expression of miR-10a and miR-21 in GDEs mediated GDE-induced MDSC expansion and activation by targeting RAR-related orphan receptor alpha (RORA) and phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN). Mice inoculated with miR-10a or miR-21 knockout glioma cells generated fewer MDSCs than those inoculated with normal glioma cells. These data elucidated a mechanism by which glioma cells influence the differentiation and activation of MDSCs via exosomes and demonstrated how local glioma hypoxia affects the entirety of tumor immune environments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Exosomes / metabolism*
  • Glioma / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / metabolism*
  • Immunosuppression Therapy / methods
  • Interleukin-10 / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Myeloid Cells / metabolism
  • Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells / metabolism*
  • Nuclear Receptor Subfamily 1, Group F, Member 1 / metabolism*
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / metabolism*


  • MicroRNAs
  • Nuclear Receptor Subfamily 1, Group F, Member 1
  • Interleukin-10
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase