Cancer-associated fibroblasts promote angiogenesis in gastric cancer through galectin-1 expression
Galectin-1, an evolutionarily conserved glycan-binding protein with angiogenic potential, was recently identified as being overexpressed in cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) of gastric cancer. The role of endogenous CAF-derived galectin-1 on angiogenesis in gastric cancer and the mechanism involved remain unknown.
Immunohistochemical staining was used to investigate the correlation between galectin-1 and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and CD31 expression in gastric cancer tissues and normal gastric tissues. Galectin-1 was knocked down in CAFs isolated from gastric cancer using small interfering ribonucleic acid (RNA), or overexpressed using recombinant lentiviruses, and the CAFs were co-cultured with human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) or cancer cells. Subsequently, proliferation, migration, tube formation, and VEGF/VEGF receptor (VEGFR) 2 expression were detected. The role of CAF-derived galectin-1 in tumor angiogenesis in vivo was studied using the chick chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) assay.
Galectin-1 was highly expressed in the CAFs and was positively associated with VEGF and CD31 expression. In the co-culture, high expression of galectin-1 in the CAFs increased HUVEC proliferation, migration, tube formation, and VEGFR2 phosphorylation and enhanced VEGF expression in gastric cancer cells. The CAM assay indicated that high expression of galectin-1 in the CAFs accelerated tumor growth and promoted angiogenesis. In contrast, galectin-1 knockdown in the CAFs significantly inhibited this effect.
CAF-derived galectin-1 significantly promotes angiogenesis in gastric cancer and may be a target for angiostatic therapy.
KeywordsAngiogenesis Cancer-associated fibroblasts Galectin-1 Gastric cancer
We thank Prof. Lu Chun (Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Nanjing Medical University, China) for kindly providing the lentiviral packaging system consisting of pHAGE-CMV-MCS-IZs Green, psPAX2, and pMD2.G. We would like to thank the native English speaking scientists of Elixigen Company for editing our manuscript.
Conflicts of interest
This work was supported by a grant from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81172279).
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