Lactate secreted via MCT4 from bone-colonizing breast cancer excites sensory neurons via GPR81

Tatsuo Okui, Masahiro Hiasa, Kazuaki Hasegawa, Tomoya Nakamura, Kisho Ono, Soichiro Ibaragi, Takahiro Kanno, Akira Sasaki, Toshiyuki Yoneda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Breast cancer (BC) bone metastasis causes bone pain (BP), which detrimentally damages the quality of life and outcome of patients with BC. However, the mechanism of BC-BP is poorly understood, and effective treatments are limited. The present study demonstrated a novel mechanism of BC-BP using a mouse model of bone pain, in which mouse (EO771) and human (MDA-MB-231) BC cells were injected in the bone marrow cavity of tibiae. Western blot analysis using sensory nerves, in vivo assessment of cancer pain and in vitro calcium flux analysis were performed. These mice developed progressive BC-BP in tibiae in conjunction with an upregulation of phosphorylated pERK1/2 and cAMP-response element-binding protein (pCREB), which are molecular indicators of neuron excitation, in the dorsal root ganglia (DRG) of sensory nerves. Importantly, mice injected with BC cells, in which the expression of the lactic acid transporter monocarboxylate transporter 4 (MCT4) was silenced, exhibited decreased BC-BP with downregulated expression of pERK1/2 and pCREB in the DRG and reduced circulating levels of lactate compared with mice injected with parental BC cells. Further, silencing of the cell-surface orphan receptor for lactate, G protein-coupled receptor 81 (GPR81), in the F11 sensory neuron cells decreased lactate-promoted upregulation of pERK1/2 and Ca2+ influx, suggesting that the sensory neuron excitation was inhibited. These results suggested that lactate released from BC cells via MCT4 induced BC-BP through the activation of GPR81 of sensory neurons. In conclusion, the activation of GPR81 of sensory neurons by lactate released via MCT4 from BC was demonstrated to contribute to the induction of BC-BP, and disruption of the interactions among lactate, MCT4 and GPR81 may be a novel approach to control BC-BP.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5487
JournalInternational journal of oncology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • G protein-coupled receptor 81
  • bone pain
  • breast cancer
  • lactate
  • monocarboxylate transporter 4

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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