Meningeal macrophages inhibit chemokine signaling in pre-tumor cells to suppress mouse medulloblastoma initiation

Dev Cell. 2023 Oct 23;58(20):2015-2031.e8. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2023.08.033. Epub 2023 Sep 28.


The microenvironment profoundly influences tumor initiation across numerous tissues but remains understudied in brain tumors. In the cerebellum, canonical Wnt signaling controlled by Norrin/Frizzled4 (Fzd4) activation in meningeal endothelial cells is a potent inhibitor of preneoplasia and tumor progression in mouse models of Sonic hedgehog medulloblastoma (Shh-MB). Single-cell transcriptome profiling and phenotyping of the meninges indicate that Norrin/Frizzled4 sustains the activation of meningeal macrophages (mMΦs), characterized by Lyve1 and CXCL4 expression, during the critical preneoplastic period. Depleting mMΦs during this period enhances preneoplasia and tumorigenesis, phenocopying the effects of Norrin loss. The anti-tumorigenic function of mMΦs is derived from the expression of CXCL4, which counters CXCL12/CXCR4 signaling in pre-tumor cells, thereby inhibiting cell-cycle progression and promoting migration away from the pre-tumor niche. These findings identify a pivotal role for mMΦs as key mediators in chemokine-regulated anti-cancer crosstalk between the stroma and pre-tumor cells in the control of MB initiation.

Keywords: Sonic hedgehog medulloblastoma; Wnt signaling; immune microenvironment; meningeal macrophages; meninges; mouse models; norrin; preneoplasia; tumor initiation; tumor microenvironment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms* / metabolism
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Hedgehog Proteins / metabolism
  • Medulloblastoma* / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Tumor Microenvironment
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway


  • Hedgehog Proteins

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