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Effects of paclitaxel in mitochondrial function and cellular phenotype in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells and monocytes

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      Chemotherapy-induced neuropathy (CIPN) is a common complication of paclitaxel. CIPN affects the quality of life of cancer survivors and frequently leads to discontinuation of treatment. Paclitaxel affects neuronal microtubules and induces neuronal mitochondrial dysfunction. However, there is limited clinical information regarding paclitaxel's effects on monocytes. Preclinical studies suggest that paclitaxel-induced neuronal damage is driven by monocytes/macrophages. Therefore, we evaluated whether paclitaxel selectively induces mitochondrial dysfunction and a pro-inflammatory phenotype in human circulating monocytes. We conducted studies in human primary peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from cancer patients being treated with paclitaxel, and in vitro analysis in PBMC cells and monocytes, and THP-1 monocytes in the presence of paclitaxel (0.1, 1, 10 uM). We used flow cytometric markers to study mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) and mitochondrial membrane potential, namely MitoSox and DIOC6(3) respectively. We also measured mRNA levels of pro- and anti-inflammatory molecules using qRT-PCR. In vitro paclitaxel induced a depolarization state in mitochondria in THP-1, human primary monocytes, and primary human PBMCs, but it did not change MitoSox. Monocytes in PBMCs cells from patients treated with paclitaxel showed significative depolarization state in mitochondria when compared to cells from control patients. In THP-1 cells, paclitaxel enhanced mRNA levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-8 and TNF alpha. In human primary PBMCs, paclitaxel reduced the anti-inflammatory factors CD163 and IL-10, and enhanced the TNF alpha, COX-2 and MCP-1 mRNA levels. Our study provides evidence that paclitaxel can induce mitochondrial dysfunction in isolated human monocytes and in monocytes present in total PBMCs cells. The observed depolarizing changes are indicative of a pro-mitophagy state, which is in accordance with the paclitaxel-induced pro-inflammatory phenotype in these cells. Early detection of mitochondria dysfunction in human monocytes could be a predictable sign to CIPN development in cancer patients. Our research was supported by the Early-Career Investigator Award W81XWH-16-1-0438 of the Department of Defense, The Pershing Square Sohn Cancer Research Alliance, Weill Cornell Medicine Funds, Department of Anesthesiology-Wake Forest School of Medicine Funds, Comprehensive Cancer Center-Wake Forest School of Medicine Funds, NIDA R21CA248106, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)-NIH through Grant Award Number UL1TR001420. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.
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