, Volume 49, Issue 7-8, pp 1075-1083

Activation of NFκB Represents the Central Event in the Neoplastic Progression Associated with Barrett's Esophagus: A Possible Link to the Inflammation and Overexpression of COX-2, PPARγ and Growth Factors

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The molecular mechanisms responsible for the progression of malignant transformation in Barrett's esophagus (BE) are still poorly understood. This study was undertaken (1) to investigate the gene and protein expression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPARγ), interleukin-8 (IL-8), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), gastrin, and its receptor (CCK-2) in the Barrett's epithelium; (2) to analyze the activity of NFκB in Barrett's esophagus with low-grade dysplasia; and (3) to assess the effects of PPARγ ligand (ciglitazone) and gastrin on cell proliferation in the cell line derived from esophageal adenocarcinoma (OE-33). COX-2, PPARγ, IL-8, HGF, gastrin, and CCK-2 expression levels relative to the control gene encoding GAPDH were analyzed by RT-PCR and Western blot in specimens of BE with low-grade dysplasia (n = 20) and compared with that in the normal squamous esophageal mucosa from the middle portion of the esophagus (n = 20). In vitro experiments included the incubation of cell line OE-33 with ciglitazone (1–15 μ M) and gastrin (100 nM). NFκB activity in biopsies specimens was measured by highly sensitive ELISA. COX-2, PPARγ, IL-8, HGF, gastrin, and CCK-2 expressions were significantly increased in BE compared with normal squamous esophageal mucosa. NFκB activity was significantly upregulated in BE. Ciglitazone inhibited cell proliferation of OE-33 cells as assessed by BrdU and this effect was attenuated partly by gastrin. (1) COX-2, PPARγ, HGF, gastrin, and its receptor are significantly upregulated in BE, suggesting a possible role for these factors in Barrett's carcinogenesis; (2) the increased NFκB activity is probably linked to increased IL-8 and COX-2 expression; and (3) PPARγ ligands might be useful as a new therapeutic option in the prevention and treatment of Barrett's carcinoma.