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11β-HSD1 inhibition does not affect murine tumour angiogenesis but may exert a selective effect on tumour growth by modulating inflammation and fibrosis

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Brian WalkerORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Copyright: © 2023 Davidson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Glucocorticoids inhibit angiogenesis by activating the glucocorticoid receptor. Inhibition of the glucocorticoid-activating enzyme 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1) reduces tissue-specific glucocorticoid action and promotes angiogenesis in murine models of myocardial infarction. Angiogenesis is important in the growth of some solid tumours. This study used murine models of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) to test the hypothesis that 11β-HSD1 inhibition promotes angiogenesis and subsequent tumour growth. SCC or PDAC cells were injected into female FVB/N or C57BL6/J mice fed either standard diet, or diet containing the 11β-HSD1 inhibitor UE2316. SCC tumours grew more rapidly in UE2316-treated mice, reaching a larger (P<0.01) final volume (0.158 ± 0.037 cm3) than in control mice (0.051 ± 0.007 cm3). However, PDAC tumour growth was unaffected. Immunofluorescent analysis of SCC tumours did not show differences in vessel density (CD31/alpha-smooth muscle actin) or cell proliferation (Ki67) after 11β-HSD1 inhibition, and immunohistochemistry of SCC tumours did not show changes in inflammatory cell (CD3- or F4/80-positive) infiltration. In culture, the growth/viability (assessed by live cell imaging) of SCC cells was not affected by UE2316 or corticosterone. Second Harmonic Generation microscopy showed that UE2316 reduced Type I collagen (P<0.001), whilst RNA-sequencing revealed that multiple factors involved in the innate immune/inflammatory response were reduced in UE2316-treated SCC tumours. 11β-HSD1 inhibition increases SCC tumour growth, likely via suppression of inflammatory/immune cell signalling and extracellular matrix deposition, but does not promote tumour angiogenesis or growth of all solid tumours.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Davidson CT, Miller E, Muir M, Dawson JC, Lee M, Aitken S, Serrels A, Webster SP, Homer NZM, Andrew R, Brunton VG, Hadoke PWF, Walker BR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: PLoS ONE

Year: 2023

Volume: 18

Issue: 3

Online publication date: 20/03/2023

Acceptance date: 05/12/2022

Date deposited: 03/04/2023

ISSN (electronic): 1932-6203

Publisher: Public Library of Science


DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0255709

PubMed id: 36940215


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Funder referenceFunder name
C157/ A24837