Although a role of PD-L1 in the suppression of anti-tumor immunity and its value as a predictive biomarker has been suggested by various preclinical and clinical studies, the precise mechanisms how PD-L1 and PD-L2, another ligand of PD-1, regulate anti-tumor immunity in the tumor microenvironment are yet to be fully explored. Here, we address this issue using PD-L1-deficient tumor cells, PD-L1-knockout (KO) mice, anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody (mAb), and anti-PD-L2 mAb. Firstly, PD-L1-deficient or competent tumor cells were inoculated into wild-type or PD-L1-KO mice. Results of tumor growth and mouse survival indicated that both tumor- and host-derived PD-L1 are functional to suppress anti-tumor immunity, while the former contributes predominantly than the latter. Experiments using bone marrow (BM) chimeric mice, generated by transferring PD-L1-KO BM cells into wild-type mice or vice versa, further suggested that PD-L1 expressed on BM-derived hematopoietic cells mediates the suppressive effects on anti-tumor immunity. Secondly, anti-PD-L2 mAb treatment demonstrated a profound synergy with anti-PD-L1 mAb therapy, whereas anti-PD-L2 mAb alone hardly induced any anti-tumor effects, suggesting that PD-L2’s function becomes evident when the effects of PD-L1 are abrogated by anti-PD-L1 mAb. Consistent with this notion, PD-L2 expression was upregulated on tumor-associated macrophages (TAM) when mice were treated with anti-PD-L1 mAb. Taken together, our study elucidated the importance of PD-L1 associated with tumor cells and non-tumor host cells, particularly BM-derived hematopoietic cells, as well as PD-L2 inducibly expressed on TAM in the suppression of anti-tumor immunity in the tumor microenvironment.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy
- Cancer Research