Neural innervation stimulates splenic TFF2 to arrest myeloid cell expansion and cancer

Zina Dubeykovskaya, Yiling Si, Xiaowei Chen, Daniel L. Worthley, Bernhard W. Renz, Aleksandra M. Urbanska, Yoku Hayakawa, Ting Xu, C. Benedikt Westphalen, Alexander Dubeykovskiy, Duan Chen, Richard A. Friedman, Samuel Asfaha, Karan Nagar, Yagnesh Tailor, Sureshkumar Muthupalani, James G. Fox, Jan Kitajewski, Timothy C. Wang

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67 Citations (Scopus)


CD11b+Gr-1+ myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) expand in the spleen during cancer and promote progression through suppression of cytotoxic T cells. An anti-inflammatory reflex arc involving the vagus nerve and memory T cells is necessary for resolution of acute inflammation. Failure of this neural circuit could promote procarcinogenic inflammation and altered tumour immunity. Here we show that splenic TFF2, a secreted anti-inflammatory peptide, is released by vagally modulated memory T cells to suppress the expansion of MDSCs through CXCR4. Splenic denervation interrupts the anti-inflammatory neural arc, resulting in the expansion of MDSCs and colorectal cancer. Deletion of Tff2 recapitulates splenic denervation to promote carcinogenesis. Colorectal carcinogenesis could be suppressed through transgenic overexpression of TFF2, adenoviral transfer of TFF2 or transplantation of TFF2-expressing bone marrow. TFF2 is important to the anti-inflammatory reflex arc and plays an essential role in arresting MDSC proliferation. TFF2 offers a potential approach to prevent and to treat cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10517
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 4 Feb 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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