Interleukin-9 Inhibits Lung Metastasis of Melanoma through Stimulating Anti-Tumor M1 Macrophages

  • Park, Sang Min (Department of Biochemistry, College of Natural Sciences, Chungnam National University) ;
  • Do-Thi, Van Anh (Department of Biochemistry, College of Natural Sciences, Chungnam National University) ;
  • Lee, Jie-Oh (Department of Life Sciences, POSTECH) ;
  • Lee, Hayyoung (Institute of Biotechnology, Chungnam National University) ;
  • Kim, Young Sang (Department of Biochemistry, College of Natural Sciences, Chungnam National University)
  • Received : 2020.02.17
  • Accepted : 2020.04.06
  • Published : 2020.05.31


Interleukin-9 (IL-9) is well known for its role in allergic inflammation. For cancer, both pro- and anti-tumor effects of IL-9 were controversially reported, but the impact of IL-9 on tumor metastasis has not yet been clarified. In this study, IL-9 was expressed as a secretory form (sIL-9) and a membrane-bound form (mbIL-9) on B16F10 melanoma cells. The mbIL-9 was engineered as a chimeric protein with the transmembrane and cytoplasmic region of TNF-α. The effect of either mbIL-9 or sIL-9 expressing cells were analyzed on the metastasis capability of the cancer cells. After three weeks of tumor implantation into C57BL/6 mice through the tail vein, the number of tumor modules in lungs injected with IL-9 expressing B16F10 was 5-fold less than that of control groups. The percentages of CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells, NK cells, and M1 macrophages considerably increased in the lungs of the mice injected with IL-9 expressing cells. Among them, the M1 macrophage subset was the most significantly enhanced. Furthermore, peritoneal macrophages, which were stimulated with either sIL-9 or mbIL-9 expressing transfectant, exerted higher anti-tumor cytotoxicity compared with that of the mock control. The IL-9-stimulated peritoneal macrophages were highly polarized to M1 phenotype. Stimulation of RAW264.7 macrophages with sIL-9 or mbIL-9 expressing cells also significantly increased the cytotoxicity of those macrophages against wild-type B16F10 cells. These results clearly demonstrate that IL-9 can induce an anti-metastasis effect by enhancing the polarization and proliferation of M1 macrophages.


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