Acrolein produced by glioma cells under hypoxia inhibits neutrophil AKT activity and suppresses anti-tumoral activities

Hong Chieh Tsai, Zhen Jie Tong, Tsong Long Hwang, Kuo Chen Wei, Pin Yuan Chen, Chiung Yin Huang, Ko Ting Chen, Ya Jui Lin, Hsiao Wei Cheng, Hsiang Tsui Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Acrolein, which is the most reactive aldehyde, is a byproduct of lipid peroxidation in a hypoxic environment. Acrolein has been shown to form acrolein-cysteine bonds, resulting in functional changes in proteins and immune effector cell suppression. Neutrophils are the most abundant immune effector cells in circulation in humans. In the tumor microenvironment, proinflammatory tumor-associated neutrophils (TANs), which are termed N1 neutrophils, exert antitumor effects via the secretion of cytokines, while anti-inflammatory neutrophils (N2 neutrophils) support tumor growth. Glioma is characterized by significant tissue hypoxia, immune cell infiltration, and a highly immunosuppressive microenvironment. In glioma, neutrophils exert antitumor effects early in tumor development but gradually shift to a tumor-supporting role as the tumor develops. However, the mechanism of this anti-to protumoral switch in TANs remains unclear. In this study, we found that the production of acrolein in glioma cells under hypoxic conditions inhibited neutrophil activation and induced an anti-inflammatory phenotype by directly reacting with Cys310 of AKT and inhibiting AKT activity. A higher percentage of cells expressing acrolein adducts in tumor tissue are associated with poorer prognosis in glioblastoma patients. Furthermore, high-grade glioma patients have increased serum acrolein levels and impaired neutrophil functions. These results suggest that acrolein suppresses neutrophil function and contributes to the switch in the neutrophil phenotype in glioma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-28
Number of pages12
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
StatePublished - Oct 2023


  • Acrolein
  • AKT
  • Glioma
  • Hypoxia
  • Neutrophils


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