Neuroblastomas and many other solid tumors produce high amounts of macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF), which appears to play a role in tumor progression. We found that MIF expression in neuroblastoma inhibits T cell proliferation in vitro, raising the possibility that MIF promotes tumorigenesis, in part, by suppressing antitumor immunity. To examine whether tumor-derived MIF leads to suppression of T cell immunity in vivo, we generated MIF-deficient neuroblastoma cell lines using short hairpin small interfering RNAs (siRNA). The MIF knockdown (MIFKD) AGN2a neuroblastoma cells were more effectively rejected in immune-competent mice than control siRNA-transduced or wild-type AGN2a. However, the increased rejection of MIFKD AGN2a was not observed in T cell-depleted mice. MIFKD tumors had increased infiltration of CD8+ and CD4+ T cells, as well as increased numbers of macrophages, dendritic cells, and B cells. Immunization with MIFKD AGN2a cells significantly increased protection against tumor challenge as compared with immunization with wild-type AGN2a, and the increased protection correlated with elevated frequencies of tumor-reactive CD8+ T cells in the lymphoid tissue of treated animals. Increased numbers of infiltrating tumor-reactive CD8+ T cells were also observed at the site of tumor vaccination. In vitro, treatment of AGN2a-derived culture supernatants with neutralizing MIF-specific Ab failed to reverse T cell suppressive activity, suggesting that MIF is not directly responsible for the immune suppression in vivo. This supports a model whereby MIF expression in neuroblastoma initiates a pathway that leads to the suppression of T cell immunity in vivo.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy