Research Paper Volume 13, Issue 5 pp 7120—7132
Hypoxic pancreatic stellate cell-derived exosomal mirnas promote proliferation and invasion of pancreatic cancer through the PTEN/AKT pathway
- 1 Department of Anatomy, School of Basic Medicine, Guizhou Medical University, Guiyang 550009, Guizhou, China
- 2 Department of Physiology, School of Basic Medicine, Guizhou Medical University, Guiyang 550009, Guizhou, China
- 3 Department of Hepatic-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery, The Affiliated Hospital of Guizhou Medical University, Guiyang 550009, Guizhou, China
Received: September 2, 2020 Accepted: January 4, 2021 Published: February 26, 2021https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.202569
How to Cite
Copyright: © 2021 Cao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) are important components of the tumor microenvironment in pancreatic cancer (PC) and contribute to its development and metastasis through mechanisms that remain incompletely characterized. Tumor hypoxia affects the function and behavior of PC and stromal cells, and can alter exosomal content to modify cell-cell communication. The present study explored the effects of exosomal miRNAs produced by hypoxia-preconditioned PSCs on the growth and metastatic potential of PC cells. Subcutaneous xenografts and liver metastasis mouse models revealed increased tumorigenic potential upon co-implantation of PC cells and PSCs as compared to PC cells alone. Screening miRNA profiles of mouse plasma exosomes and cultured PSCs, followed by miRNA overexpression and inhibition assays, enabled us to identify miR-4465 and miR-616-3p as prominent hypoxia-induced, PSC-derived, exosomal miRNAs promoting PC cell proliferation, migration, and invasion. Proteomics analysis of PC cells incubated with exosomes derived from hypoxic PSCs showed significant downregulation of PTEN. Dual-luciferase reporter assays and western blotting showed that both miR-4465 and miR-616-3p target PTEN and activate AKT signaling in PC cells. We conclude that hypoxia upregulates miR-4465 and miR-616-3p expression in PSC-derived exosomes. Following exosome uptake, these miRNAs promote PC progression and metastasis by suppressing the PTEN/AKT pathway.