Research Papers:

IL-35 induces N2 phenotype of neutrophils to promote tumor growth

Jiu-Ming Zou, Jian Qin, Yong-Chao Li, Yu Wang, Dong Li, Yu Shu, Chao Luo, Shan-Shan Wang, Gang Chi, Fang Guo, Gui-Mei Zhang and Zuo-Hua Feng _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:33501-33514. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.16819

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Jiu-Ming Zou1,*, Jian Qin1,*, Yong-Chao Li1, Yu Wang1, Dong Li1, Yu Shu1, Chao Luo1, Shan-Shan Wang1, Gang Chi1, Fang Guo1, Gui-Mei Zhang1, Zuo-Hua Feng1

1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Basic Medicine, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430030, The People’s Republic of China

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Zuo-Hua Feng, email: [email protected]

Yong-Chao Li, email: [email protected]

Keywords: IL-35, neutrophils, inflammation, tumor, cytokine

Received: December 08, 2016     Accepted: March 24, 2017     Published: April 04, 2017


IL-35 is an immunosuppressive cytokine and exerts regulatory effects on T cells, B cells, macrophages and dendritic cells. Neutrophils are important innate immune cells that play key roles in tumor development. The effect of IL-35 on neutrophils remains unknown. Here, we report that IL-35 can induce N2 neutrophil polarization (protumor phenotype) by increasing G-CSF and IL-6 production, and promote neutrophil infiltration into tumor microenvironment. The sustained expression of IL-35 could promote chronic inflammation to augment the proangiogenic and immunosuppressive function of neutrophils. IL-35 stimulated macrophages to secrete proinflammatory cytokines IL-1β and IL-6. IL-1β stimulated γδ T cells to produce IL-17, which in turn increased the production of G-CSF. By increasing the expression of G-CSF and IL-6, IL-35 could up-regulate the expression of MMP-9 and Bv8, and down-regulate TRAIL expression in neutrophils, thus augmenting the proangiogenic function of neutrophils. Moreover, G-CSF/IL-6 induced the enhanced activation of STAT3 and ERK pathways in neutrophils, thus increasing the expression of iNOS to suppress T cell activation. Our findings suggest that IL-35 can promote tumor progression by functioning as an up-stream cytokine to promote cancer-associated inflammation and control neutrophil polarization. Targeting IL-35 might be an important approach for designing new strategy of tumor therapy.

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