Purpose: Pancreatic cancer frequently causes diabetes. We recently proposed adrenomedullin as a candidate mediator of pancreatic β-cell dysfunction in pancreatic cancer. How pancreatic cancer-derived adrenomedullin reaches β cells remote from the cancer to induce β-cell dysfunction is unknown. We tested a novel hypothesis that pancreatic cancer sheds adrenomedullin-containing exosomes into circulation, which are transported to β cells and impair insulin secretion. Experimental Methods: We characterized exosomes from conditioned media of pancreatic cancer cell lines (n = 5) and portal/peripheral venous blood of patients with pancreatic cancer (n = 20). Western blot analysis showed the presence of adrenomedullin in pancreatic cancer-exosomes. We determined the effect of adrenomedullin-containing pancreatic cancer exosomes on insulin secretion from INS-1 β cells and human islets, and demonstrated the mechanism of exosome internalization into β cells. We studied the interaction between β-cell adrenomedullin receptors and adrenomedullin present in pancreatic cancer-exosomes. In addition, the effect of adrenomedullin on endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response genes and reactive oxygen/nitrogen species generation in βcells was shown. Results: Exosomes were found to be the predominant extracellular vesicles secreted by pancreatic cancer into culture media and patient plasma. Pancreatic cancer-exosomes contained adrenomedullin and CA19-9, readily entered β cells through caveolin-mediated endocytosis or macropinocytosis, and inhibited insulin secretion. Adrenomedullin in pancreatic cancer exosomes interacted with its receptor on β cells. Adrenomedullin receptor blockade abrogated the inhibitory effect of exosomes on insulin secretion. β cells exposed to adrenomedullin or pancreatic cancer exosomes showed upregulation of ER stress genes and increased reactive oxygen/nitrogen species. Conclusions: Pancreatic cancer causes paraneoplastic β-cell dysfunction by shedding adrenomedullin<sup>+</sup>/CA19-9<sup>+</sup> exosomes into circulation that inhibit insulin secretion, likely through adrenomedullin-induced ER stress and failure of the unfolded protein response.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research