Dose-Dependent Effects in Plasma Oncotherapy: Critical In Vivo Immune Responses Missed by In Vitro Studies

Biomolecules. 2023 Apr 21;13(4):707. doi: 10.3390/biom13040707.


Cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) generates abundant reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS and RNS, respectively) which can induce apoptosis, necrosis, and other biological responses in tumor cells. However, the frequently observed different biological responses to in vitro and in vivo CAP treatments remain poorly understood. Here, we reveal and explain plasma-generated ROS/RNS doses and immune system-related responses in a focused case study of the interactions of CAP with colon cancer cells in vitro and with the corresponding tumor in vivo. Plasma controls the biological activities of MC38 murine colon cancer cells and the involved tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs). In vitro CAP treatment causes necrosis and apoptosis in MC38 cells, which is dependent on the generated doses of intracellular and extracellular ROS/RNS. However, in vivo CAP treatment for 14 days decreases the proportion and number of tumor-infiltrating CD8+T cells while increasing PD-L1 and PD-1 expression in the tumors and the TILs, which promotes tumor growth in the studied C57BL/6 mice. Furthermore, the ROS/RNS levels in the tumor interstitial fluid of the CAP-treated mice are significantly lower than those in the MC38 cell culture supernatant. The results indicate that low doses of ROS/RNS derived from in vivo CAP treatment may activate the PD-1/PD-L1 signaling pathway in the tumor microenvironment and lead to the undesired tumor immune escape. Collectively, these results suggest the crucial role of the effect of doses of plasma-generated ROS and RNS, which are generally different in in vitro and in vivo treatments, and also suggest that appropriate dose adjustments are required upon translation to real-world plasma oncotherapy.

PMID:37189453 | PMC:PMC10136314 | DOI:10.3390/biom13040707


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