Psychosocial Stress and Age Influence Depression and Anxiety-Related Behavior, Drive Tumor Inflammatory Cytokines and Accelerate Prostate Cancer Growth in Mice

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Frontiers in oncology




Prostate cancer (PCa) prevalence is higher in older men and poorer coping with psychosocial stressors effect prognosis. Yet, interactions between age, stress and PCa progression are underexplored. Therefore, we characterized the effects of age and isolation combined with restraint (2 h/day) for 14 days post-tumor inoculation on behavior, tumor growth and host defense in the immunocompetent, orthotopic RM-9 murine PCa model. All mice were tumor inoculated. Isolation/restraint increased sympathetic and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal cortical activation, based on elevated serum 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol/norepinephrine ratios and corticosterone levels, respectively. Elevated zero maze testing revealed age-related differences in naïve C57Bl/6 mice, and increased anxiety-like behavior in tumor-bearing mice. In open field testing, old stressed mice were less active throughout the 30-min test than young non-stressed and stressed, and old non-stressed mice, suggesting greater anxiety in old stressed mice. Old (18 month) mice demonstrated more depression-like behavior than young mice with tail suspension testing, without effects of isolation/restraint stress. Old mice developed larger tumors, despite similar tumor expression of tumor vascular endothelial growth factor or transforming growth factor-beta1 across age. Tumor chemokine/cytokine expression, commonly prognostic for poorer outcomes, were uniquely age- and stress-dependent, underscoring the need for PCa research in old animals. Macrophages predominated in RM-9 tumors. Macrophages, and CD4 and CD4FoxP3 T-cell tumor infiltration were greater in young mice than in old mice. Stress increased macrophage infiltration in old mice. Conversely, stress reduced intratumoral CD4 and CD4FoxP3 T-cell numbers in young mice. CD8 T-cell infiltration was similar across treatment groups. Our findings support that age- and psychological stress interacts to affect PCa outcomes by interfering with neural-immune mechanisms and affecting behavioral responses.



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