Int J Biol Sci 2022; 18(5):1944-1960. doi:10.7150/ijbs.70408 This issue

Research Paper

Interleukin-17 programs liver progenitor cell transformation into cancer stem cells through miR-122 downregulation with increased risk of primary liver cancer initiation

Imène Gasmi1,2, Camilia Machou1,2, Aurélie Rodrigues1,2, Arthur Brouillet1,2, Trung Cong Nguyen1,2, Benoit Rousseau1,2, Adrien Guillot1,2, Christophe Rodriguez1,2, Vanessa Demontant1,2, Yeni Ait-Ahmed1,2, Julien Calderaro1,2,4, Alain Luciani1,2, Jean-Michel Pawlotsky1,2,5, Fouad Lafdil1,2,3✉

1. Université Paris-Est, UMR-S955, UPEC, F-94000, Créteil, France.
2. INSERM, U955, F-94000, Créteil, France.
3. Institut Universitaire de France (IUF), Paris, F-75231 Cedex 05 France.
4. Département de Pathologies, Hôpital Henri Mondor, Université Paris-Est, Créteil, France.
5. Département de Virologie, Hôpital Henri Mondor, Université Paris-Est, Créteil, France.

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Citation:
Gasmi I, Machou C, Rodrigues A, Brouillet A, Nguyen TC, Rousseau B, Guillot A, Rodriguez C, Demontant V, Ait-Ahmed Y, Calderaro J, Luciani A, Pawlotsky JM, Lafdil F. Interleukin-17 programs liver progenitor cell transformation into cancer stem cells through miR-122 downregulation with increased risk of primary liver cancer initiation. Int J Biol Sci 2022; 18(5):1944-1960. doi:10.7150/ijbs.70408. Available from https://www.ijbs.com/v18p1944.htm

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Abstract

Graphic abstract

Chronic inflammation is a key component in the development of virtually all types of primary liver cancers. However, how chronic inflammation potentiates or even may initiate liver parenchymal cell transformation remains unclear. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) represent an exciting target for novel anticancer therapeutic strategies in several types of cancers and were also described in primary liver cancers as tumor initiating cells. Recently, we reported a key role of Interleukin (IL)-17 in Liver Progenitor Cell (LPC) accumulation in preneoplastic cirrhotic livers. In this study, we evidenced in vitro, that long-term stimulation of LPCs with IL-17 led to their transformation into CSCs. Indeed, they acquired CSC-marker expression, and self-renewal properties, showed by their increased capacity to form spheroids. The miRNome analysis revealed that long-term IL-17 treatment of LPCs led to a 90% decrease in miR-122 expression. In a model using immunodeficient mice, ectopic engraftment of LPCs in an IL-17-enriched environment led to tumor occurrence with an aggressive phenotype. Contrastingly, in a murine model of hepatocellular carcinoma induced by a unique injection of diethyl-nitrosamine associated with chronic administration of carbon tetrachloride, IL-17-deficiency or anti-IL-17 therapy protected mice from liver tumor growth. In conclusion, we showed that a chronic exposure of LPCs to IL-17 cytokine promotes their transformation into CSCs. In addition, we demonstrated that IL-17-neutralizing strategies limit CSC occurrence and liver tumor progression through miR-122 restored-expression.

Keywords: Liver progenitor cells, Interleukin-17, cancer stem cells, liver cancer, miR-122