Journal Article

Tumor–host interaction mediates the regression of BK virus-induced vascular tumors in mice: involvement of transforming growth factor-β1

Alfredo Corallini, Laura Possati, Cecilia Trabanelli, Enrico Giraudo, Romina Rocchetti, Simona Talevi, Antonella Caputo, Federico Bussolino and Giuseppe Barbanti-Brodano

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 24, issue 9, pages 1435-1444
Published in print September 2003 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online September 2003 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/bgg096
Tumor–host interaction mediates the regression of BK virus-induced vascular tumors in mice: involvement of transforming growth factor-β1

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Several sexually transmitted viruses have been associated with the development of Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), a highly vascularized multi-focal neoplasm, characterized by the presence of spindle-shaped and endothelial cells, fibroblasts and macrophages. As BK virus (BKV) sequences were found in 100% of primary KS and 75% of KS cell lines, we established an experimental model to test whether BKV may be involved in the pathogenesis of KS. For this purpose, we transformed primary and spontaneously immortalized murine endothelial cells with BKV or with a plasmid containing BKV early region, which encodes BKV T antigen. Murine endothelial cells lost endothelial markers after transformation by BKV and, when inoculated s.c. in nude mice, induced tumors which regressed 7–30 days after onset, whereas spontaneously immortalized murine endothelial MHE cells induced progressing tumors, which brought the animals to death. Histologic examination showed an initial formation of vessels around the tumors, followed by the appearance of a dense population of fibroblasts and mononuclear cells in the peritumoral tissue. Subsequently, tumors appeared to be infiltrated by mononuclear cells and surrounded by a thick fibrous wall with scattered fibroblasts and without vessels. Areas of necrosis developed in the tumor mass and finally the neoplastic tissue completely degenerated. The medium conditioned by BKV-transformed cells induced proliferation and migration of human fibroblasts and NIH3T3 cells. These effects were inhibited by an anti-transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) antibody. Northern blot analysis revealed that BKV-transformed cells express a greater amount of TGF-β1 RNA than normal murine endothelial cells. Besides, TGF-β1 was not expressed in progressing tumors induced by spontaneously immortalized endothelial MHE cells, whereas it was highly expressed during the regression of tumors induced by BKV-transformed MHE and primary endothelial cells. Over-expression of TGF-β1 may be responsible for the mononuclear cell infiltration, inhibition of angiogenesis and formation of the fibrotic wall around tumors, inducing tumor regression through tumor cell necrosis and nutritional starvation. These results prompt us to test whether production of TGF-β1 is associated with spontaneous KS regression in human patients. In this case, KS regression could be induced or accelerated by any means that enhances TGF-β1 production at the tumor site.

Keywords: bFGF, basic fibroblast growth factor; BKV, BK virus; CM, conditioned medium; DMEM, Dulbecco's modified Eagle's minimal essential medium; FCS, fetal calf serum; KS, Kaposi's sarcoma; IL-6, interleukin 6; PA, plasminogen activator; TAg, BKV T antigen; TGF-β1, transforming growth factor-β1

Journal Article.  8042 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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