Inflammation and other cell-cell responses to microenvironmental nutrient shortage
Poorly irrigated tumors exhaust nutrients from their environment. On the other hand, innate immune cells, such as neutrophils and macrophages, have been frequently shown to infiltrate tumors and promote an immunosuppressive environment. Our results show that, when nutrients are low, tumor cells secrete factors related to wound healing that stimulate endothelial cells and attract innate immune cells. This suggests that targeting signals elicited by metabolic stress may help the immune system target malignant cells, and that metabolites regulate the communication between immune and tumor cells also through modulation of peptidic signals like IL-8 and IL-6.
Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Spain
Cristina Muñoz-Pinedo leads the Cell Death and Metabolism group at the IDIBELL Oncobell program in Barcelona, Spain. She started her scientific career in the field of cell death and cancer metabolism under the supervision of Dr. Abelardo López-Rivas at CSIC in Granada, Spain. She then worked under the supervision of Doug Green at La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, where she studied the role of the mitochondria during cell death as an initiator of the apoptotic process and as a “victim” of caspase activation. After a short stay in St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, in 2006 she moved back to Spain to start a lab whose main interest is to understand how cells cope with starvation. Her lab is trying to apply this knowledge to improve the treatment of cancer and ischemic diseases.