Activation of CECR1 in M2-like TAMs promotes paracrine stimulation-mediated glial tumor progression

Changbin Zhu, Dana Mustafa, Ping-Pin Zheng, Marcel van der Weiden, Andrea Sacchetti, Maarten Brandt, Ihsan Chrifi, D. Tempel, Pieter J M Leenen, Dirk Jan Duncker, Caroline Cheng, Johan M Kros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background. The majority of glioma-associated microglia/macrophages have been identifed as M2-type macrophages with immune suppressive and tumor supportive action. Recently, the extracellular adenosine deaminase protein Cat Eye Syndrome Critical Region Protein 1 (CECR1) was shown to regulate macrophage maturation. In this study, we investigate the role of CECR1 in the regulation of the glioma-associated macrophage response. Methods. Expression of CECR1 was assessed in human glioma samples. CECR1-mediated macrophage response was studied in vitro, using donor derived CD14+ monocytes and the THP-1 monocytic cell line. The response of the human glioma cell line U87 to conditioned medium of macrophages preconditioned with recombinant human CECR1 or CECR1 silencing was also assessed. Results. CECR1 was strongly expressed in high-grade gliomas (P <.001) and correlated positively with the M2 phenotype markers in tumor-associated microglia/macrophages (TAMs) (overall, P <.05). In vitro studies confrmed the presence of a signifcantly higher level of CECR1 expression in M2-like macrophages exposed to U87 conditioned medium (P <.001). CECR1 knockdown or stimulation of macrophages affected differentiation toward the M2-like phenotype. Stimulation of U87 cells with conditioned medium of CECR1 knockdown or stimulated macrophages affected tumor cell proliferation and migration, coinciding with altered intracellular signaling of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). In glioma tissue samples, CECR1 expression correlated with Ki67 and MAPK signaling protein. Conclusions. CECR1 is a potent regulator of TAM polarization and is consistently highly expressed by M2-type TAMs, particularly in high-grade glioma. Paracrine effects induced by CECR1 in M2-like TAMs activate MAPK signaling and stimulate the proliferation and migration of glioma cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)648-659
Number of pages12
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017


  • CECR1
  • glioblastoma
  • glioma
  • tumor associated macrophages (TAMs)


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