The Immune Interplay between Thyroid Papillary Carcinoma and Hepatic Fibrosis

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: A high prevalence of thyroid papillary cancer was reported in hepatitis-C-virus (HCV) positive patients. However, the mechanistic role of hepatic-fibrosis in thyroid malignancy progressions is still unclear. AIM: We aimed to study the immune-modulatory interactions between thyroid papillary carcinoma and hepatic-fibrosis. METHODS: Hepatic-fibrosis was induced in nude-nu-male mice by intra-peritoneal administration of carbon-tetrachloride. To induce thyroid-tumor, a thyroid papillary carcinoma cell line (NPA) was injected subcutaneously in the backs. Fibrotic profile was estimated by α-smooth-muscle-actin (αSMA) expression in liver tissue extracts using western-blots and RT-PCR. Intra-hepatic NK cells were isolated and stained for NK activity (CD107a) by flow cytometry. Liver histopathology (H&E staining), thyroid tumor mass and serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT), serum vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and free-T4 levels were also assessed. RESULTS: Ex-vivo: NPA cells were co-cultured with intra-hepatic NK cells isolated from fibrotic mice with/without the tumor were analyzed for CFSE-proliferations. Both tumor groups (with/without hepatic-fibrosis) excreted higher serum free T4 levels. Hepatic-fibrosis increased tumor weight and size and serum free-T4 levels. In addition, tumor induction increased liver injury (both hepatic-fibrosis, necro-inflammation and serum ALT levels). In addition, tumor-bearing animals with hepatic-fibrosis had increased NK activity. NPA tumor-bearing animals increased fibrosis in spite of increased NK activity; probably due to a direct effect through increased serum free-T4 excretions. Serum VEGF levels were significantly increased in the fibrotic- bearing tumor groups compared to the non-fibrotic groups. In-vitro, NK cells from fibrotic tumor-bearing animals reduced proliferation of NPA cells. This decrease is attributed to increase NK cells activity in the fibrotic animals with the NPA tumors. CONCLUSIONS: Our results propose that NK cells although were stimulated in advanced fibrosis with tumor, they lost their anti-tumor and anti-fibrotic activity probably due to secretions of T4 and VEFG and may explain increased risk of thyroid tumors in chronic HCV patients.

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Muhanna, N., Amer, J., Salhab, A., Sichel, J. Y., & Safadi, R. (2015). The Immune Interplay between Thyroid Papillary Carcinoma and Hepatic Fibrosis. PloS One, 10(7), e0132463. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0132463

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