Herein, we aimed to identify the immunomodulatory role of tumor Syndecan-1 (CD138) in the polarization of CD4+ T helper (Th) subsets isolated from the tumor microenvironment of inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) and non-IBC patients. Lymphocytes and mononuclear cells isolated from the axillary tributaries of non-IBC and IBC patients during modified radical mastectomy were either stimulated with the secretome as indirect co-culture or directly co-cultured with control and Syndecan-1-silenced SUM-149 IBC cells. In addition, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of normal subjects were used for the direct co-culture. Employing flow cytometry, we analyzed the expression of the intracellular IFN-γ, IL-4, IL-17, and Foxp3 markers as readout for basal and co-cultured Th1, Th2, Th17, and Treg CD4+ subsets, respectively. Our data revealed that IBC displayed a lower basal frequency of Th1 and Th2 subsets than non-IBC. Syndecan-1-silenced SUM-149 cells significantly upregulated only Treg subset polarization of normal subjects relative to controls. However, Syndecan-1 silencing significantly enhanced the polarization of Th17 and Treg subsets of non-IBC under both direct and indirect conditions and induced only Th1 subset polarization under indirect conditions compared to control. Interestingly, qPCR revealed that there was a negative correlation between Syndecan-1 and each of IL-4, IL-17, and Foxp3 mRNA expression in carcinoma tissues of IBC and that the correlation was reversed in non-IBC. Mechanistically, Syndecan-1 knockdown in SUM-149 cells promoted Th17 cell expansion via upregulation of IL-23 and the Notch ligand DLL4. Overall, this study indicates a low frequency of the circulating antitumor Th1 subset in IBC and suggests that tumor Syndecan-1 silencing enhances ex vivo polarization of CD4+ Th17 and Treg cells of non-IBC, whereby Th17 polarization is possibly mediated via upregulation of IL-23 and DLL4. These findings suggest the immunoregulatory role of tumor Syndecan-1 expression in Th cell polarization that may have therapeutic implications for breast cancer.
Moshira Ezzat Saleh, Ramy Gadalla, Hebatallah Hassan, Ahmed Afifi, Martin Götte, Mohamed El-Shinawi, Mona Mostafa Mohamed, Sherif Abdelaziz Ibrahim
PLOS, Published: May 30, 2019 doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0217550