Breast cancer cells promote a notch-dependent mesenchymal phenotype in endothelial cells participating to a pro-tumoral niche

Pegah Ghiabi, Jie Jiang, Jennifer Pasquier, Mahtab Maleki, Nadine Abu-Kaoud, Najeeb Halabi, Bella S. Guerrouahen, Shahin Rafii, Arash Rafii Tabrizi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Endothelial cells (ECs) are responsible for creating a tumor vascular niche as well as producing angiocrine factors. ECs demonstrate functional and phenotypic heterogeneity when located under different microenvironments. Here, we describe a tumor-stimulated mesenchymal phenotype in ECs and investigate its impact on tumor growth, stemness, and invasiveness.

METHODS: Xenograft tumor assay in NOD/SCID mice and confocal imaging were conducted to show the acquisition of mesenchymal phenotype in tumor-associated ECs in vivo. Immunocytochemistry, qPCR and flow cytometry techniques showed the appearance of mesenchymal traits in ECs after contact with breast tumor cell lines MDA-MB231 or MCF-7. Cell proliferation, cell migration, and sphere formation assays were applied to display the functional advantages of mesenchymal ECs in tumor growth, invasiveness, and enrichment of tumor initiating cells. qPCR and western blotting were used to investigate the mechanisms underlying EC mesenchymal transition.

RESULTS: Our results showed that co-injection of ECs and tumor cells in NOD/SCID mice significantly enhanced tumor growth in vivo with tumor-associated ECs expressing mesenchymal markers while maintaining their intrinsic endothelial trait. We also showed that a mesenchymal phenotype is possibly detectable in human neoplastic breast biopsies as well as ECs pre-exposed to tumor cells (ECs(Mes)) in vitro. The ECs(Mes) acquired prolonged survival, increased migratory behavior and enhanced angiogenic properties. In return, ECs(Mes) were capable of enhancing tumor survival and invasiveness. The mesenchymal phenotypes in ECs(Mes) were the result of a contact-dependent transient phenomenon and reversed upon removal of the neoplastic contexture. We showed a synergistic role for TGFβ and notch pathways in this phenotypic change, as simultaneous inhibition of notch and TGFβ down-regulated Smad1/5 phosphorylation and Jag1(KD) tumor cells were unable to initiate the process.

CONCLUSIONS: Overall, our data proposed a crosstalk mechanism between tumor and microenvironment where tumor-stimulated mesenchymal modulation of ECs enhanced the constitution of a transient mesenchymal/endothelial niche leading to significant increase in tumor proliferation, stemness, and invasiveness. The possible involvement of notch and TGFβ pathways in the initiation of mesenchymal phenotype may propose new stromal targets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Translational Medicine
Volume13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2015

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Endothelial cells
Tumors
Endothelial Cells
Cells
Breast Neoplasms
Phenotype
Neoplasms
Inbred NOD Mouse
SCID Mice
Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays
Growth
Assays
Tumor Microenvironment
Survival
Neoplastic Stem Cells
Constitution and Bylaws
Phosphorylation
Flow cytometry
Biopsy
Tumor Cell Line

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Cite this

@article{2ed15dca1b7040afb8e52464214e9cfd,
title = "Breast cancer cells promote a notch-dependent mesenchymal phenotype in endothelial cells participating to a pro-tumoral niche",
abstract = "BACKGROUND: Endothelial cells (ECs) are responsible for creating a tumor vascular niche as well as producing angiocrine factors. ECs demonstrate functional and phenotypic heterogeneity when located under different microenvironments. Here, we describe a tumor-stimulated mesenchymal phenotype in ECs and investigate its impact on tumor growth, stemness, and invasiveness.METHODS: Xenograft tumor assay in NOD/SCID mice and confocal imaging were conducted to show the acquisition of mesenchymal phenotype in tumor-associated ECs in vivo. Immunocytochemistry, qPCR and flow cytometry techniques showed the appearance of mesenchymal traits in ECs after contact with breast tumor cell lines MDA-MB231 or MCF-7. Cell proliferation, cell migration, and sphere formation assays were applied to display the functional advantages of mesenchymal ECs in tumor growth, invasiveness, and enrichment of tumor initiating cells. qPCR and western blotting were used to investigate the mechanisms underlying EC mesenchymal transition.RESULTS: Our results showed that co-injection of ECs and tumor cells in NOD/SCID mice significantly enhanced tumor growth in vivo with tumor-associated ECs expressing mesenchymal markers while maintaining their intrinsic endothelial trait. We also showed that a mesenchymal phenotype is possibly detectable in human neoplastic breast biopsies as well as ECs pre-exposed to tumor cells (ECs(Mes)) in vitro. The ECs(Mes) acquired prolonged survival, increased migratory behavior and enhanced angiogenic properties. In return, ECs(Mes) were capable of enhancing tumor survival and invasiveness. The mesenchymal phenotypes in ECs(Mes) were the result of a contact-dependent transient phenomenon and reversed upon removal of the neoplastic contexture. We showed a synergistic role for TGFβ and notch pathways in this phenotypic change, as simultaneous inhibition of notch and TGFβ down-regulated Smad1/5 phosphorylation and Jag1(KD) tumor cells were unable to initiate the process.CONCLUSIONS: Overall, our data proposed a crosstalk mechanism between tumor and microenvironment where tumor-stimulated mesenchymal modulation of ECs enhanced the constitution of a transient mesenchymal/endothelial niche leading to significant increase in tumor proliferation, stemness, and invasiveness. The possible involvement of notch and TGFβ pathways in the initiation of mesenchymal phenotype may propose new stromal targets.",
author = "Pegah Ghiabi and Jie Jiang and Jennifer Pasquier and Mahtab Maleki and Nadine Abu-Kaoud and Najeeb Halabi and Guerrouahen, {Bella S.} and Shahin Rafii and Tabrizi, {Arash Rafii}",
year = "2015",
month = "1",
day = "27",
doi = "10.1186/s12967-015-0386-3",
language = "English",
volume = "13",
pages = "27",
journal = "Journal of Translational Medicine",
issn = "1479-5876",
publisher = "BioMed Central",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Breast cancer cells promote a notch-dependent mesenchymal phenotype in endothelial cells participating to a pro-tumoral niche

AU - Ghiabi, Pegah

AU - Jiang, Jie

AU - Pasquier, Jennifer

AU - Maleki, Mahtab

AU - Abu-Kaoud, Nadine

AU - Halabi, Najeeb

AU - Guerrouahen, Bella S.

AU - Rafii, Shahin

AU - Tabrizi, Arash Rafii

PY - 2015/1/27

Y1 - 2015/1/27

N2 - BACKGROUND: Endothelial cells (ECs) are responsible for creating a tumor vascular niche as well as producing angiocrine factors. ECs demonstrate functional and phenotypic heterogeneity when located under different microenvironments. Here, we describe a tumor-stimulated mesenchymal phenotype in ECs and investigate its impact on tumor growth, stemness, and invasiveness.METHODS: Xenograft tumor assay in NOD/SCID mice and confocal imaging were conducted to show the acquisition of mesenchymal phenotype in tumor-associated ECs in vivo. Immunocytochemistry, qPCR and flow cytometry techniques showed the appearance of mesenchymal traits in ECs after contact with breast tumor cell lines MDA-MB231 or MCF-7. Cell proliferation, cell migration, and sphere formation assays were applied to display the functional advantages of mesenchymal ECs in tumor growth, invasiveness, and enrichment of tumor initiating cells. qPCR and western blotting were used to investigate the mechanisms underlying EC mesenchymal transition.RESULTS: Our results showed that co-injection of ECs and tumor cells in NOD/SCID mice significantly enhanced tumor growth in vivo with tumor-associated ECs expressing mesenchymal markers while maintaining their intrinsic endothelial trait. We also showed that a mesenchymal phenotype is possibly detectable in human neoplastic breast biopsies as well as ECs pre-exposed to tumor cells (ECs(Mes)) in vitro. The ECs(Mes) acquired prolonged survival, increased migratory behavior and enhanced angiogenic properties. In return, ECs(Mes) were capable of enhancing tumor survival and invasiveness. The mesenchymal phenotypes in ECs(Mes) were the result of a contact-dependent transient phenomenon and reversed upon removal of the neoplastic contexture. We showed a synergistic role for TGFβ and notch pathways in this phenotypic change, as simultaneous inhibition of notch and TGFβ down-regulated Smad1/5 phosphorylation and Jag1(KD) tumor cells were unable to initiate the process.CONCLUSIONS: Overall, our data proposed a crosstalk mechanism between tumor and microenvironment where tumor-stimulated mesenchymal modulation of ECs enhanced the constitution of a transient mesenchymal/endothelial niche leading to significant increase in tumor proliferation, stemness, and invasiveness. The possible involvement of notch and TGFβ pathways in the initiation of mesenchymal phenotype may propose new stromal targets.

AB - BACKGROUND: Endothelial cells (ECs) are responsible for creating a tumor vascular niche as well as producing angiocrine factors. ECs demonstrate functional and phenotypic heterogeneity when located under different microenvironments. Here, we describe a tumor-stimulated mesenchymal phenotype in ECs and investigate its impact on tumor growth, stemness, and invasiveness.METHODS: Xenograft tumor assay in NOD/SCID mice and confocal imaging were conducted to show the acquisition of mesenchymal phenotype in tumor-associated ECs in vivo. Immunocytochemistry, qPCR and flow cytometry techniques showed the appearance of mesenchymal traits in ECs after contact with breast tumor cell lines MDA-MB231 or MCF-7. Cell proliferation, cell migration, and sphere formation assays were applied to display the functional advantages of mesenchymal ECs in tumor growth, invasiveness, and enrichment of tumor initiating cells. qPCR and western blotting were used to investigate the mechanisms underlying EC mesenchymal transition.RESULTS: Our results showed that co-injection of ECs and tumor cells in NOD/SCID mice significantly enhanced tumor growth in vivo with tumor-associated ECs expressing mesenchymal markers while maintaining their intrinsic endothelial trait. We also showed that a mesenchymal phenotype is possibly detectable in human neoplastic breast biopsies as well as ECs pre-exposed to tumor cells (ECs(Mes)) in vitro. The ECs(Mes) acquired prolonged survival, increased migratory behavior and enhanced angiogenic properties. In return, ECs(Mes) were capable of enhancing tumor survival and invasiveness. The mesenchymal phenotypes in ECs(Mes) were the result of a contact-dependent transient phenomenon and reversed upon removal of the neoplastic contexture. We showed a synergistic role for TGFβ and notch pathways in this phenotypic change, as simultaneous inhibition of notch and TGFβ down-regulated Smad1/5 phosphorylation and Jag1(KD) tumor cells were unable to initiate the process.CONCLUSIONS: Overall, our data proposed a crosstalk mechanism between tumor and microenvironment where tumor-stimulated mesenchymal modulation of ECs enhanced the constitution of a transient mesenchymal/endothelial niche leading to significant increase in tumor proliferation, stemness, and invasiveness. The possible involvement of notch and TGFβ pathways in the initiation of mesenchymal phenotype may propose new stromal targets.

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