Cuban Brown Propolis Interferes in the Crosstalk between Colorectal Cancer Cells and M2 Macrophages.
Nutrients. 2020 Jul 9 ;12(7). Epub 2020 Jul 9. PMID: 32660099
Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs), primarily the M2 phenotype, are involved in the progression and metastasis of colorectal cancer (CRC). Cuban brown propolis (Cp) and its main component Nemorosone (Nem) displays an antiproliferative effect on different cancer cells, including CRC cell lines. However, whether Cp and Nem could exploit its effect on CRC cells by targeting their relationship with TAMs remains to be elucidated. In this study, we differentiated the human monocytic THP-1 cells to M2 macrophages and confirmed this transition by immunofluorescence (IF) staining, qRT-PCR and zymography. An MTT assay was performed to determine the effect of Cp and Nem on the viability of CRC HT-29 cells co-cultured with M2 macrophages. Furthermore, the migration and invasion abilities of HT-29 cells were determined by Transwell assays and the expression levels of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) markers were analyzed by IF staining. We demonstrated that Cp and Nem reduced the viability of M2 macrophages and, accordingly, the activity of the MMP-9 metalloprotein. Moreover, we demonstrated that M2 macrophages produce soluble factors that positively regulate HT-29 cell growth, migration and invasion. These M2-mediated effects were counteracted by Cp and Nem treatments, which also played a role in regulating the expression of the EMT markers E-cadherin and vimentin. Taken together, our results indicate that Nem contained in Cp interferes in the crosstalk between CRC cells and TAMs, by targeting M2 macrophages.