Sensitivity to macrophages decreases with tumor progression in the AKR lymphoma

T. Kaptzan*, E. Skutelsky, M. Michowitz, A. Siegal, O. Itzhaki, S. Hoenig, J. Hiss, S. Kay, J. Leibovici

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Resistance to immune reactions, innate or acquired, may be one of the mechanisms responsible for the progression of tumors. We have, indeed shown higher numbers of macrophages surrounding low- as compared to high-malignancy cells. In the present study we examined the level of cell surface molecules known to determine sensitivity to macrophages, namely galactose (GAL) and sialic acid (SA) residues. A histochemical assay for identification of SA by electron microscopy showed a higher cell surface content on metastatic (MT) than on primary (PT) tumor cells. The FACS data seen with fluorescent lectins showed a higher binding of Sambucus nigra agglutinin, which identifies SA attached to terminal GAL in -2.6 or -2.3 linkage, in MT than in PT cells. Binding of Maakia amurensis lectin (MAL-1), which identifies SA at position 3 of GAL, showed that the MT cells contain two subpopulations, one binding more MAL-1 and another less. Cell sorting showed a more aggressive behavior of the first population. The comparison of Peanut agglutinin (PNA) binding, which identifies GAL, demonstrated a decreased amount of PNA receptors in MT as compared to PT cells. Western blot analysis of the membranal proteins with different lectins, identified 3 sialylated glycoproteins. The 88 kDa glycoprotein had no significance for metastatic potential. The 130 kDa glycoprotein was higher in MT than on PT cells. The 220 kDa glycoprotein was practically present only on MT cells. The tendency observed was of a higher level of membranal glycoconjugates terminally sialylated with subterminal galactose residues, in MT cells as compared to PT cells. This may explain the recently found decrease in apoptotic cell death with increasing aggressiveness of the AKR lymphoma and suggests a lower sensitivity to macrophages with tumor progression. Treatment based on the reduction in sialic acid content might render the tumor cells more vulnerable to macrophages. We found, indeed, that Wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) injected in vivo, exerted an inhibitory effect on growth of the lymphoma. We found morever that WGA-treated tumor cells were more sensitive than nontreated cells to macrophages in vitro.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-275
Number of pages13
JournalAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
StatePublished - 2000


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