The incidence of nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) has been increasing worldwide. Most studies have highlighted the importance of cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) in NMSC progression. However much less is known about the communication between normal fibroblasts and epithelia; disruption of this communication affects tumor initiation and the latency period in the emergence of tumors. Delineating the mechanism that mediates this epithelial-mesenchymal communication in NMSC could identify more effective targeted therapies. The nuclear receptor PPARβ/δ in fibroblasts has been shown to modulate adjacent epithelial cell behavior, however, its role in skin tumorigenesis remains unknown. Using chemically induced skin carcinogenesis, we showed that FSPCre-Pparb/dex4 mice, whose Pparb/d gene was selectively deleted in fibroblasts, had delayed emergence and reduced tumor burden compared with control mice (Pparb/dfl/fl). However, FSPCre-Pparb/dex4-derived tumors showed increased proliferation, with no difference in differentiation, suggesting delayed tumor initiation. Network analysis revealed a link between dermal Pparb/d and TGF-β1 with epidermal NRF2 and Nox4. In vitro investigations showed that PPARβ/δ deficiency in fibroblasts increased epidermal Nox4-derived H2O2 production, which triggered an NRF2-mediated antioxidant response. We further showed that H2O2 upregulated NRF2 mRNA via the B-Raf-MEK1/2 pathway. The enhanced NRF2 response altered the activities of PTEN, Src, and AKT. In vivo, we detected the differential phosphorylation profiles of B-Raf, MEK1/2, PTEN, Src, and AKT in the vehicle-treated and chemically treated epidermis of FSPCre-Pparb/dex4 mice compared with that in Pparb/dfl/fl mice, prior to the first appearance of tumors in Pparb/dfl/fl. Our study revealed a role for fibroblast PPARβ/δ in the epithelial-mesenchymal communication involved in cellular redox homeostasis.
- PMID: 32313198