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posted on 09.08.2021, 19:09 authored by Xiaoteng Cui, Qixue Wang, Junhu Zhou, Yunfei Wang, Can Xu, Fei Tong, Hongjun Wang, Chunsheng Kang
Background

The main immune cells in GBM are tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). Thus far, the studies investigating the activation status of TAM in GBM are mainly limited to bulk RNA analyses of individual tumor biopsies. The activation states and transcriptional signatures of TAMs in GBM remain poorly characterized.

Methods

We comprehensively analyzed single-cell RNA-sequencing data, covering a total of 16,201 cells, to clarify the relative proportions of the immune cells infiltrating GBMs. The origin and TAM states in GBM were characterized using the expression profiles of differential marker genes. The vital transcription factors were examined by SCENIC analysis. By comparing the variable gene expression patterns in different clusters and cell types, we identified components and characteristics of TAMs unique to each GBM subtype. Meanwhile, we interrogated the correlation between SPI1 expression and macrophage infiltration in the TCGA-GBM dataset.

Results

The expression patterns of TMEM119 and MHC-II can be utilized to distinguish the origin and activation states of TAMs. In TCGA-Mixed tumors, almost all TAMs were bone marrow-derived macrophages. The TAMs in TCGA-proneural tumors were characterized by primed microglia. A different composition was observed in TCGA-classical tumors, which were infiltrated by repressed microglia. Our results further identified SPI1 as a crucial regulon and potential immunotherapeutic target important for TAM maturation and polarization in GBM.

Conclusions

We describe the immune landscape of human GBM at a single-cell level and define a novel categorization scheme for TAMs in GBM. The immunotherapy against SPI1 would reprogram the immune environment of GBM and enhance the treatment effect of conventional chemotherapy drugs.

History

References