Original Article

MicroRNA-124 Enhances T Cells Functions by Manipulating the Lactic Acid Metabolism of Tumor Cells


High production of lactic acid is a common feature of various tumors. Lactic acid is an immunosuppressive molecule with crucial roles in tumor cells' immune escape, which could largely be attributed to its negative effects on the T cells present in the tumor microenvironment (TME). Strategies that decrease the glycolysis rate of tumor cells could enhance immunosurveillance and limit tumor growth. Pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2) is a key enzyme in the glycolysis pathway, and it plays a vital role in lactic acid buildup in the TME. MicroRNA (miR)-124 has been shown to be able to decrease tumor cell lactic acid synthesis indirectly by reducing PKM2 levels.
In this study, we first overexpressed miR-124 in the tumor cells and evaluated its effects on the PKM2 expression and lactic acid production of the tumor cells using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and spectrophotometry, respectively. Then, we cocultured miR-124–treated tumor cells with T cells to investigate the effects of miR-124 overexpression on T cell proliferation, cytokine production, and apoptosis.
Our results demonstrated that miR-124 overexpression could significantly reduce the amount of lactic acid produced by tumor cells by manipulating their glucose metabolism, which led to the augmented proliferation and IFN-γ production of T cells. Moreover, it rescued T cells from lactic acid-induced apoptosis.
Our data suggest that lactic acid is a hindering factor for T-cell–based immunotherapies; however, manipulating tumor cells' metabolism via miR-124 could be a promising way to improve antitumor responses of T cells.

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IssueVol 22 No 1 (2023) QRcode
SectionOriginal Article(s)
DOI https://doi.org/10.18502/ijaai.v22i1.12007
Lactic acid Metabolism MIRN124 microRNA, human T-lymphocytes Tumor microenvironment

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Khakpoor-Koosheh M, Rostamian H, Masoumi E, Jafarzadeh L, Fallah-Mehrjardi K, Javad Tavassolifar M, Noorbakhsh F, Mirzaei HR, Hadjati jamshid, Rezaei N. MicroRNA-124 Enhances T Cells Functions by Manipulating the Lactic Acid Metabolism of Tumor Cells. Iran J Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2023;22(1):62-71.