Research Papers:

This article has been corrected. Correction in: Oncotarget. 2022; 13:505-506.

Human astrocytes secrete IL-6 to promote glioma migration and invasion through upregulation of cytomembrane MMP14

Weiliang Chen, Tongliang Xia, Donghai Wang, Bin Huang, Peng Zhao, Jian Wang, Xun Qu and Xingang Li _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:62425-62438. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.11515

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Weiliang Chen1,2,3,*, Tongliang Xia1,2,3,*, Donghai Wang2, Bin Huang2, Peng Zhao2, Jian Wang2,4, Xun Qu5, Xingang Li2

1Department of Otolaryngology, Qilu Hospital, Shandong University, Jinan, China

2Department of Neurosurgery, Qilu Hospital of Shandong University and Brain Science Research Institute, Shandong University, Jinan, China

3Key Laboratory of Otolaryngology, Chinese Ministry of Health, Jinan, China

4Department of Biomedicine, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway

5Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Qilu Hospital of Shandong University, Jinan, China

*These authors have contributed equally to the work

Correspondence to:

Xingang Li, email: [email protected]

Keywords: astrocytes, glioma, invasion, IL-6, MMP14

Received: November 01, 2015    Accepted: August 08, 2016    Published: August 23, 2016


The brain microenvironment has emerged as an important component in malignant progression of human glioma. However, astrocytes, the most abundant glial cells in the glioma microenvironment, have as yet a poorly defined role in the development of this disease, particularly with regard to invasion. Here, we co-cultured human astrocytes with human glioma cell lines, U251 and A172, in an in vitro transwell system in order to ascertain their influence on migration and invasion of gliomas. mRNA and protein expression assays were subsequently used to identify candidate proteins mediating this activity. Astrocytes significantly increased migration and invasion of both U251 and A172 cells in migration and invasion (plus matrigel) assays. Membrane type 1 matrix metalloproteinase (MMP14) originating from glioma cells was identified in qRT-PCR as the most highly up-regulated member of the MMP family of genes (~ 3 fold, p < 0.05) in this system. A cytokine array and ELISA were used to identify interleukin-6 (IL-6) as a highly increased factor in media collected from astrocytes, especially under co-culture conditions. IL-6 was also the key cytokine inducing cytomembrane MMP14 expression, the active form of MMP14, in glioma cells. Knockdown of MMP14 with siRNA led to decreased migration and invasion. Taken together, our results indicated that cytomembrane MMP14 was induced by IL-6 secreted from astrocytes, thereby enhancing the migration and invasion of glioma cells through activation of MMP2. Therefore, this IL-6 and MMP14 axis between astrocytes and glioma cells may become a potential target for treatment of glioma patients.

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