PDGF-C induces anti-apoptotic effects on macrophages through Akt and Bad phosphorylation [Cell Biology]

January 13th, 2014 by Son, D., Na, Y. R., Hwang, E.-S., Seok, S. H.

PDGF-C, which is abundant in the malignant breast tumor microenvironment, plays an important role in cell growth and survival. Because tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) contribute to cancer malignancy, macrophage survival mechanisms are an attractive area of research into controlling tumor progression. In this study, we investigated PDGF-C-mediated signaling pathways involved in anti-apoptotic effects in macrophages. We found that the human malignant breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231 produced high quantities of PDGF-C, whereas benign MCF-7 cells did not. Recombinant PDGF-C induced PDGF receptor alpha chain phosphorylation, followed by Akt and Bad phosphorylation in THP-1-derived macrophages. MDA-MB-231 culture supernatants also activated macrophage PDGF-Rα. PDGF-C prevented staurosporine-induced macrophage apoptosis by inhibiting the activation of caspase-3, -7, -8, and -9 and cleavage of PARP. Finally, TAMs isolated from the PDGF-C-knockdown murine breast cancer cell line 4T1 and PDGF-C-knockdown MDA-MB-231-derived tumor mass showed higher rates of apoptosis than the respective WT controls. Collectively, our results suggest that tumor cell-derived PDGF-C enhances TAM survival, promoting tumor malignancy.