BACKGROUND: L-arginine is the common substrate for the two isoforms of arginase. Arginase I, highly expressed in the liver and arginase II mainly expressed in the kidney. Arginase I-producing myeloid derived suppressor cells have been shown to inhibit T-cell function by the depletion of L-arginine. On the other hand, arginase II has been detected in patients with cancer and is thought to metabolize L-arginine to L-ornithine needed to sustain rapid tumor growth; however its role in L-arginine depletion is unclear. Thus, in tumor biology, L-arginine metabolism may play a dual role in tumor growth and in the induction of T cell dysfunction. Therefore, we studied in murine renal cell carcinoma (RCC) cell lines, the effect of arginase II on tumor cell proliferation and L-arginine depletion. The effect of arginase inhibitors on cell proliferation was also tested. METHODS: Three murine renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) cell lines were tested for the presence of arginase. nor-NOHA, an arginase inhibitor was used to substantiate the effect of arginase on cell growth and L-arginine depletion. Amino acid levels were tested by HPLC. RESULTS: Our results show that mRCC cell lines express only arginase II and were able to deplete L-arginine from the medium. Cell growth was independent of the amount of arginase activity expressed by the cells. nor-NOHA significantly (P = 0.01) reduced arginase II activity and suppressed cell growth in cells exhibiting high arginase activity.The depletion of L-arginine by mRCC induced the decrease expression of CD3zeta a key element for T-cell function. CONCLUSION: The results of this study show for the first time that arginase II produced by RCC cell lines depletes L-arginine resulting in decreased expression of CD3zeta. These results indicate that RCC cell lines expressing arginase II can modulate the L-arginine metabolic pathway to regulate both cell growth and T-cell function. Blocking arginase may lead to a decrease in RCC cell growth and aid in restoring immune function by increasing L-arginine availability for T-cell use. Understanding the interplay between arginase II and its interaction with the immune system may provide future therapeutic benefits to treat patients with RCC.
Tate, D. J., Vonderhaar, D. J., Caldas, Y. A., Metoyer, T., Patterson IV, J. R., Aviles, D. H., & Zea, A. H. (2008). Effect of arginase II on L-arginine depletion and cell growth in murine cell lines of renal cell carcinoma. Journal of Hematology and Oncology, 1(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1756-8722-1-14