Genetic ablation of adipocyte PD-L1 reduces tumor growth but accentuates obesity-associated inflammation

Bogang Wu, Huai Chin Chiang, Xiujie Sun, Bin Yuan, Payal Mitra, Yanfen Hu, Tyler J. Curiel, Rong Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1)-dependent immune checkpoint attenuates host immunity and maintains self-tolerance. Imbalance between protective immunity and immunopathology due to altered PD-L1 signaling can lead to autoimmunity or tumor immunosuppression. The role of the PD-L1-dependent checkpoint in non-immune system is less reported. We previously found that white adipocytes highly express PD-L1. Here we show that adipocyte-specific PD-L1 knockout mice exhibit enhanced host anti-tumor immunity against mammary tumors and melanoma with low or no tumor PD-L1. However, adipocyte PD-L1 ablation in tumor-free mice also exacerbates diet-induced body weight gain, pro-inflammatory macrophage infiltration into adipose tissue, and insulin resistance. Low PD-L1 mRNA levels in human adipose tissue correlate with high body mass index and presence of type 2 diabetes. Therefore, our mouse genetic approach unequivocally demonstrates a cell-autonomous function of adipocyte PD-L1 in promoting tumor growth and inhibiting antitumor immunity. In addition, our work uncovers a previously unrecognized role of adipocyte PD-L1 in mitigating obesity-related inflammation and metabolic dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number000964
JournalJournal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 17 2020


  • B7-H1 antigen
  • immunity
  • inflammation
  • macrophages
  • tumor microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research


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