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Original research
Interleukin-1β-induced pancreatitis promotes pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma via B lymphocyte–mediated immune suppression


Objective Long-standing chronic pancreatitis is an established risk factor for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Interleukin-1β (IL-1β) has been associated in PDAC with shorter survival. We employed murine models to investigate the mechanisms by which IL-1β and chronic pancreatitis might contribute to PDAC progression.

Design We crossed LSL-Kras +/G12D;Pdx1-Cre (KC) mice with transgenic mice overexpressing IL-1β to generate KC-IL1β mice, and followed them longitudinally. We used pancreatic 3D in vitro culture to assess acinar-to-ductal metaplasia formation. Immune cells were analysed by flow cytometry and immunohistochemical staining. B lymphocytes were adoptively transferred or depleted in Kras-mutant mice. B-cell infiltration was analysed in human PDAC samples.

Results KC-IL1β mice developed PDAC with liver metastases. IL-1β treatment increased Kras+/G12D pancreatic spheroid formation. CXCL13 expression and B lymphocyte infiltration were increased in KC-IL1β pancreata. Adoptive transfer of B lymphocytes from KC-IL1β mice promoted tumour formation, while depletion of B cells prevented tumour progression in KC-IL1β mice. B cells isolated from KC-IL1β mice had much higher expression of PD-L1, more regulatory B cells, impaired CD8+ T cell activity and promoted tumorigenesis. IL-35 was increased in the KC-IL1β pancreata, and depletion of IL-35 decreased the number of PD-L1+ B cells. Finally, in human PDAC samples, patients with PDAC with higher B-cell infiltration within tumours showed significantly shorter survival.

Conclusion We show here that IL-1β promotes tumorigenesis in part by inducing an expansion of immune-suppressive B cells. These findings point to the growing significance of B suppressor cells in pancreatic tumorigenesis.

  • chronic pancreatitis
  • pancreatic cancer
  • cancer immunobiology
  • interleukins

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