Table of contents

Volume 3, Issue 7, pp. 208 - 239, July 2019

Issue cover
Cover: This month in Cell Stress: Tumor-promoting stress in the bone-marrow microenvironment. Image composition based on free-to-use photos from Pexels. The cover is published under the CC BY 4.0 license. Enlarge issue cover


The role of epigenetics in hypothalamic energy balance control: implications for obesity

Arnaud Obri and Marc Claret

page 208-220 | 10.15698/cst2019.07.191 | Full text | PDF | Abstract

Despite enormous social and scientific efforts, obesity rates continue to increase worldwide. While genetic factors contribute to obesity development, genetics alone cannot explain the current epidemic. Obesity is essentially the consequence of complex genetic-environmental interactions. Evidence suggests that contemporary lifestyles trigger epigenetic changes, which can dysregulate energy balance and thus contribute to obesity. The hypothalamus plays a pivotal role in the regulation of body weight, through a sophisticated network of neuronal systems. Alterations in the activity of these neuronal pathways have been implicated in the pathophysiology of obesity. Here, we review the current knowledge on the central control of energy balance with a focus on recent studies linking epigenetic mechanisms in the hypothalamus to the development of obesity and metabolic disorders.

Stress and catecholamines modulate the bone marrow microenvironment to promote tumorigenesis

Pauline Hanns, Anna M. Paczulla, Michael Medinger, Martina Konantz and Claudia Lengerke

page 221-235 | 10.15698/cst2019.07.192 | Full text | PDF | Abstract

High vascularization and locally secreted factors make the bone marrow (BM) microenvironment particularly hospitable for tumor cells and bones to a preferred metastatic site for disseminated cancer cells of different origins. Cancer cell homing and proliferation in the BM are amongst other regulated by complex interactions with BM niche cells (e.g. osteoblasts, endothelial cells and mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs)), resident hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) and pro-angiogenic cytokines leading to enhanced BM microvessel densities during malignant progression. Stress and catecholamine neurotransmitters released in response to activation of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) reportedly modulate various BM cells and may thereby influence cancer progression. Here we review the role of catecholamines during tumorigenesis with particular focus on pro-tumorigenic effects mediated by the BM niche.


Impact of prophylactic TNF blockade in the dual PD-1 and CTLA-4 immunotherapy efficacy and toxicity

Maite Alvarez, Itziar Otano, Luna Minute, Maria Carmen Ochoa, Elisabeth Perez-Ruiz, Ignacio Melero and Pedro Berraondo

page 236-239 | 10.15698/cst2019.07.193 | Full text | PDF | Abstract

The TNF blockade therapy is currently a well-established treatment option for a variety of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriasis or Crohn’s disease, given the proinflammatory role of TNF in the course of these diseases. Importantly, TNF neutralization is also used for the treatment of corticosteroid-refractory immune-related adverse events (irAEs) induced by the combined anti-PD-1 and anti-CTLA-4 immunotherapy. The manifestation of these toxicities is an important limiting factor for the successful implementation of the inhibitory checkpoint blockade therapy (ICB), restraining its anti-tumor efficacy. In our recent study (Perez-Ruiz et al., Nature 569(7756): 428-432.), we analyzed the potential impact of prophylactic TNF neutralization therapy in the anti-PD1/CTLA-4 efficacy. Through several mouse models, we demonstrated that TNF neutralization ameliorated ICB-exacerbated colitis in addition to improving ICB-dependent anti-tumor efficacy. Similar results were obtained after prophylactic TNF blockade in graft vs host xenografted mouse models with human immune cells, which showed a reduction in colitis and hepatitis. Importantly, there was a preservation of the immunotherapeutic control of xenografted tumors after ICB treatment. Moreover, TNF and TNF-dependent gene expression is upregulated in the colon mucosa from patients affected by colitis as a side effect of ipilimumab and nivolumab. Our results, thus, provide evidence of the successful combination of prophylactic TNF neutralization with ICB therapy strategy to ameliorate toxicities, while keeping or even enhancing anti-tumor efficacy. The prophylactic TNF blockade strategy is clinically feasible since excellent TNF inhibitors have been approved for the treatment of autoimmunity and are used for the immune-related serious adverse events in immunotherapy.

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