Okayama University

LANGUAGE
JAPANESECHINESE
MENU

Okayama University Medical Research Updates (OU-MRU) Vol.71

October 18, 2019

Source: Okayama University (JAPAN), Public Relations Division
For immediate release: 18 October 2019
Okayama University research: The nervous system can contribute to breast cancer progression

(Okayama, 18 October) In a recent study published in Nature Neuroscience researchers at Okayama University developed a method to stimulate different types of nerves within breast tumors and found that while some nerves abetted tumor growth, some prevented it.

Autonomic nerves are messengers that carry signals from the brain to the organs in our body. In recent years scientists have found several links between the autonomic system and cancer. Autonomic nerves are involved in the progression of prostate cancer. On the other hand, prostate and breast cancer patients can have a lower risk of death when given nerve-blocking drugs. However, the direct relationship between the autonomic system and breast cancer is still unclear. A research team led by Professor KAMIYA Atsunori at Okayama University has now examined autonomic nerves found within breast tumors and unraveled their contribution to tumor growth.

Our organs are permeated by multiple nerves. Hence, isolating and analyzing any one nerve type is tough. Additionally, targeting nerves only within the breast tumor is also difficult. To circumvent these challenges, the research team developed a virus-based tool. This consisted of an innocuous virus with the ability to genetically modify tissues to stimulate or suppress specific nerve types. In this case, the two main autonomic nerves of interest were sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves. Since the virus would have to be injected, it would only bring about these changes within the injected tissues.

The tool was first tested on breast tumors implanted into rats. Stimulating the sympathetic nerves in these rats resulted in growth of tumors. The tumors also spread to distant organs such as the lungs. Conversely, stimulation of the parasympathetic nerves resulted in reduced tumor growth. These tumors also showed a lower presence of immune checkpoint inhibitors, which are cancer-promoting proteins. The virus was then injected to inhibit the two nerve types within the tumors. Deactivating the sympathetic nerves suppressed the growth of tumors while deactivating parasympathetic nerves promoted their growth.

The team subsequently scrutinized the distribution of nerves within tumor samples of 29 breast cancer patients. The patients with a high presence of sympathetic nerves were indeed the ones with lower chances of survival, while those with a high abundance of parasympathetic nerves, had better chances of survival. The tumor samples with higher parasympathetic presence also had fewer immune checkpoint inhibitors.

This study is the first to show how stimulation of different nerves within breast tumors can determine the fate of the cancer. “Genetic sympathetic nerve denervation and parasympathetic neurostimulation of tumors may suppress breast cancer progression and are therefore a potential novel therapeutic approach for breast cancer”, conclude the researchers.

Background
The autonomic nervous system: The autonomic nervous system, which comprises sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves, transmits signals from the brain to all the organs in the body. These nerves are thus vital for our organs such as the stomach, pancreas and liver to function smoothly at all times. Hyperactivity or hypoactivity of these nerves can have a significant impact on the organs they target.

Sympathetic nerves are excitatory in nature and stimulate organ function primarily under conditions of perceived threat. In contrast, the parasympathetic nerves control organ function when the body is at rest. A balance between the two is therefore very important for our organs to perform effectively under different conditions.

Reference
Atsunori Kamiya, Yohsuke Hayama, Shigeki Kato, Akihiko Shimomura, Takushi Shimomura, Katsumasa Irie, Ryosuke Kaneko, Yuchio Yanagawa, Kazuto Kobayashi, Takahiro Ochiya. Genetic manipulation of autonomic nerve fiber innervation and activity and its effect on breast cancer progression. Nature Neuroscience, July 2019.
DOI : https://doi.org/10.1038/s41593-019-0430-3
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41593-019-0430-3


Correspondence to
Professor KAMIYA Atsunori, M.D., Ph.D.
Department of Cellular Physiology,
Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical
Sciences, Okayama University, 2-5-1 Shikata-cho, Kita-ku,
Okayama 700-8558, Japan
E-mail: kamiyaa(a)okayama-u.ac.jp
http://okayama-u-physiol1.jp/index.html

For inquiries, please contact us by replacing (a) with the @ mark.


Further information
Okayama University
1-1-1 Tsushima-naka , Kita-ku , Okayama 700-8530, Japan
Public Relations Division
E-mail: www-adm(a)adm.okayama-u.ac.jp
For inquiries, please contact us by replacing (a) with the @ mark.

Website: //www.okayama-u.ac.jp/index_e.html
Okayama Univ. e-Bulletin: //www.okayama-u.ac.jp/user/kouhou/ebulletin/
We love OKAYAMA UNIVERSITY: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cXlttQIk3E
Okayama University Image Movie(2018)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmyqOTuigBs


Okayama University Medical Research Updates (OU-MRU)
The whole volume : OU-MRU (1- )
Vol.1:Innovative non-invasive ‘liquid biopsy’ method to capture circulating tumor cells from blood samples for genetic testing
Vol.2:Ensuring a cool recovery from cardiac arrest
Vol.3:Organ regeneration research leaps forward
Vol.4:Cardiac mechanosensitive integrator
Vol.5:Cell injections get to the heart of congenital defects
Vol.6:Fourth key molecule identified in bone development
Vol.7:Anticancer virus solution provides an alternative to surgery
Vol.8:Light-responsive dye stimulates sight in genetically blind patients
Vol.9:Diabetes drug helps towards immunity against cancer
Vol.10:Enzyme-inhibitors treat drug-resistant epilepsy
Vol.11:Compound-protein combination shows promise for arthritis treatment
Vol.12:Molecular features of the circadian clock system in fruit flies
Vol.13:Peptide directs artificial tissue growth
Vol.14:Simplified boron compound may treat brain tumours
Vol.15:Metamaterial absorbers for infrared inspection technologies
Vol.16:Epigenetics research traces how crickets restore lost limbs
Vol.17:Cell research shows pathway for suppressing hepatitis B virus
Vol.18:Therapeutic protein targets liver disease
Vol.19:Study links signalling protein to osteoarthritis
Vol.20:Lack of enzyme promotes fatty liver disease in thin patients
Vol.21:Combined gene transduction and light therapy targets gastric cancer
Vol.22:Medical supportive device for hemodialysis catheter puncture
Vol.23:Development of low cost oral inactivated vaccines for dysentery
Vol.24:Sticky molecules to tackle obesity and diabetes
Vol.25:Self-administered aroma foot massage may reduce symptoms of anxiety
Vol.26:Protein for preventing heart failure
Vol.27:Keeping cells in shape to fight sepsis
Vol.28:Viral-based therapy for bone cancer
Vol.29:Photoreactive compound allows protein synthesis control with light
Vol.30:Cancer stem cells’ role in tumor growth revealed
Vol.31:Prevention of RNA virus replication
Vol.32:Enzyme target for slowing bladder cancer invasion
Vol.33:Attacking tumors from the inside
Vol.34:Novel mouse model for studying pancreatic cancer
Vol.35:Potential cause of Lafora disease revealed
Vol.36:Overloading of protein localization triggers cellular defects
Vol.37:Protein dosage compensation mechanism unravelled
Vol.38:Bioengineered tooth restoration in a large mammal
Vol.39:Successful test of retinal prosthesis implanted in rats
Vol.40:Antibodies prolong seizure latency in epileptic mice
Vol.41:Inorganic biomaterials for soft-tissue adhesion
Vol.42:Potential drug for treating chronic pain with few side effects
Vol.43:Potential origin of cancer-associated cells revealed
Vol.44:Protection from plant extracts
Vol.45:Link between biological-clock disturbance and brain dysfunction uncovered
Vol.46:New method for suppressing lung cancer oncogene
Vol.47:Candidate genes for eye misalignment identified
Vol.48:Nanotechnology-based approach to cancer virotherapy
Vol.49:Cell membrane as material for bone formation
Vol.50:Iron removal as a potential cancer therapy
Vol.51:Potential of 3D nanoenvironments for experimental cancer
Vol.52:A protein found on the surface of cells plays an integral role in tumor growth and sustenance
Vol.53:Successful implantation and testing of retinal prosthesis in monkey eyes with retinal degeneration
Vol.54:Measuring ion concentration in solutions for clinical and environmental research
Vol.55:Diabetic kidney disease: new biomarkers improve the prediction of the renal prognosis
Vol.56:New device for assisting accurate hemodialysis catheter placement
Vol.57:Possible link between excess chewing muscle activity and dental disease
Vol.58:Insights into mechanisms governing the resistance to the anti-cancer medication cetuximab
Vol.59:Role of commensal flora in periodontal immune response investigated
Vol.60:Role of commensal microbiota in bone remodeling
Vol.61:Mechanical stress affects normal bone development
Vol.62:3D tissue model offers insights into treating pancreatic cancer
Vol.63:Promising biomarker for vascular disease relapse revealed
Vol.64:Inflammation in the brain enhances the side-effects of hypnotic medication
Vol.65:Game changer: How do bacteria play Tag ?
Vol.66:Is too much protein a bad thing?
Vol.67:Technology to rapidly detect cancer markers for cancer diagnosis
Vol.68:Improving the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer
Vol.69:Early gastric cancer endoscopic diagnosis system using artificial intelligence
Vol.70:Prosthetics for Retinal Stimulation

ACADEMIC YEAR