Toll-like receptor 2 mediates microglia/brain macrophage MT1-MMP expression and glioma expansion


  • K. Vinnakota
  • F. Hu
  • M.C. Ku
  • P.B. Georgieva
  • F. Szulzewsky
  • A. Pohlmann
  • S. Waiczies
  • H. Waiczies
  • T. Niendorf
  • S. Lehnardt
  • U.K. Hanisch
  • M. Synowitz
  • D.S. Markovic
  • S.A. Wolf
  • R. Glass
  • H. Kettenmann


  • Neuro-Oncology


  • Neuro Oncol 15 (11): 1457-1468


  • Background: Glioblastomas are the most aggressive primary brain tumors in humans. Microglia/brain macrophage accumulation in and around the tumor correlates with malignancy and poor clinical prognosis of these tumors. We have previously shown that microglia promote glioma expansion through upregulation of membrane type 1 matrix metalloprotease (MT1-MMP). This upregulation depends on signaling via the Toll-like receptor (TLR) adaptor molecule myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 (MyD88). Methods: Using in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo techniques, we identified TLR2 as the main TLR controlling microglial MT1-MMP expression and promoting microglia-assisted glioma expansion. Results: The implantation of mouse GL261 glioma cells into TLR2 knockout mice resulted in significantly smaller tumors, reduced MT1-MMP expression, and enhanced survival rates compared with wild-type control mice. Tumor expansion studied in organotypic brain slices depended on both parenchymal TLR2 expression and the presence of microglia. Glioma-derived soluble factors and synthetic TLR2 specific ligands induced MT1-MMP expression in microglia from wild-type mice, but no such change in MT1-MMP gene expression was observed in microglia from TLR2 knockout mice. We also found evidence that TLR1 and TLR6 cofunction with TLR2 as heterodimers in regulating MT1-MMP expression in vitro. Conclusions: Our results thus show that activation of TLR2 along with TLRs 1 and/or 6 converts microglia into a glioma supportive phenotype.