The cholesterol metabolite induces the production of carcinogenic vesicles – sciencedaily
Scientists working to understand cellular processes linking high cholesterol to breast cancer recurrence and metastasis report that a byproduct of cholesterol metabolism causes certain cells to send cancer-promoting signals to other cells. These signals are packaged in membrane-bound compartments called extracellular vesicles.
Reported in the journal Endocrinology, the discovery could lead to the development of new cancer therapies, the researchers said.
“Extracellular vesicles play an important role in normal physiology, but they have also previously been implicated in cancer biology,” said Erik Nelson, study leader, professor of molecular and integrative physiology at the University of London. ‘Illinois Urbana-Champaign. “These particles carry cargo from one cell to another. This cargo is important because it is diverse and acts as a communication network. But very little is known about what regulates vesicles.”
In previous studies, Nelson and colleagues found that 27-hydroxycholesterol, a byproduct of cholesterol metabolism, promotes tumor growth by binding to estrogen receptors on various tissues, causing estrogen-sensitive cancer cells to proliferate. and to develop. Researchers also found that 27HC suppresses immune function.
To understand more precisely how 27HC works on cells, in the new study, the team exposed several types of cells to the metabolite, including immune cells known as polynuclear neutrophils.
“When we treated the neutrophils, a type of white blood cell, with 27-hydroxycholesterol, they started spitting out extracellular vesicles,” Nelson said.
The vesicles contained a unique collection of signaling molecules, the researchers found. And when injected into mouse models of breast cancer, the vesicles “promoted both breast tumor growth and breast cancer metastasis,” Nelson said.
“This is an important study because it establishes that a hormone or metabolite can regulate these extracellular vesicles,” Nelson said. “Understanding how this system works could prove to be therapeutically useful. “
Nelson is also a professor of nutritional sciences and affiliated with the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology and the Illinois Cancer Center.
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Materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, News Bureau. Original written by Diana Yates. Note: Content can be changed for style and length.