Adrenergic nerves activate an angio-metabolic switch in prostate cancer

Ali H. Zahalka, Anna Arnal-Estapé, Maria Maryanovich, Fumio Nakahara, Cristian D. Cruz, Lydia W.S. Finley, Paul S. Frenette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

93 Scopus citations


Nerves closely associate with blood vessels and help to pattern the vasculature during development. Recent work suggests that newly formed nerve fibers may regulate the tumor microenvironment, but their exact functions are unclear. Studying mouse models of prostate cancer, we show that endothelial b-adrenergic receptor signaling via adrenergic nerve-derived noradrenaline in the prostate stroma is critical for activation of an angiogenic switch that fuels exponential tumor growth. Mechanistically, this occurs through alteration of endothelial cellmetabolism. Endothelial cells typically rely on aerobic glycolysis for angiogenesis.We found that the loss of endothelial Adrb2, the gene encoding the b2-adrenergic receptor, leads to inhibition of angiogenesis through enhancement of endothelial oxidative phosphorylation. Codeletion of Adrb2 and Cox10, a gene encoding a cytochrome IVoxidase assembly factor, prevented the metabolic shift induced by Adrb2 deletion and rescued prostate cancer progression. This cross-talk between nerves and endothelial metabolism could potentially be targeted as an anticancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-326
Number of pages6
Issue number6361
StatePublished - Oct 20 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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    Zahalka, A. H., Arnal-Estapé, A., Maryanovich, M., Nakahara, F., Cruz, C. D., Finley, L. W. S., & Frenette, P. S. (2017). Adrenergic nerves activate an angio-metabolic switch in prostate cancer. Science, 358(6361), 321-326.