Human uveal melanoma arises in an immune privileged ocular environment in which both adaptive and innate immune effector mechanisms are suppressed. Uveal melanoma is the most common intraocular tumor in adults and is derived from tissues in the eye that produce macrophage migration-inhibitory factor (MIF), a cytokine that has recently been demonstrated to produce immediate inhibition of NK cell-mediated lytic activity. Although NK cell-mediated lysis of uveal melanomas is inhibited in the eye, melanoma cells that disseminate from the eye are at risk for surveillance by NK cells. Moreover, uveal melanoma cells demonstrate a propensity to metastasize to the liver, an organ with one of the highest levels of NK activity in the body. Therefore, we speculated that uveal melanomas produced MIF as a means of escaping NK cell-mediated lysis. Accordingly, seven primary uveal melanoma cell lines and two cell lines derived from uveal melanoma metastases were examined for their production of MIF. MIF was detected in melanoma culture supernatants by both ELISA and the classical bioassay of macrophage migration inhibition. Melanoma-derived MIF inhibited NK cell-mediated lysis of YAC-1 and uveal melanoma cells. Cell lines derived from uveal melanoma metastases produced approximately twice as much biologically active MIF as cultures from primary uveal melanomas. Inhibition of NK cell-mediated killing by uveal melanoma- derived MIF was specifically inhibited in a dose-dependent manner by anti-MIF Ab. The results suggest that human uveal melanoma cells maintain a microenvironment of immune privilege by secreting active MIF that protects against NK cell-mediated killing.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy