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Thymosin β4 promotes hepatoblastoma metastasis via the induction of epithelial-mesenchymal transition.

Molecular medicine reports (2015-02-20)
Xiaojun Fu, Peiyuan Cui, Fangfang Chen, Jianzhong Xu, Li Gong, Lei Jiang, Dakun Zhang, Yongtao Xiao
ABSTRACT

Hepatoblastoma (HB) is the most common malignant hepatic tumor in children and complete surgical resection offers the highest possibility for cure in this disease. Tumor metastasis is the principle obstacle to the development of efficient treatments for patients with HB. The present study aimed to measure the expression levels of thymosin β4 (Tβ4) in liver samples from patients with HB and to investigate the involvement of Tβ4 in HB metastasis. The expression of Tβ4 was significantly higher in liver samples from patients with metastatic HB and in the HepG2 metastatic HB cell line, compared with that in adjacent healthy liver samples and in the L02 healthy hepatic cell line. By contrast, the expression levels of epithelial-cadherin (E-cadherin) and cytosolic accumulation of β-catenin, the two most prominent markers involved in epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), were reduced in liver specimens from patients with metastatic HB compared with that of healthy adjacent control tissue. HepG2 cells were transfected with small interfering-RNA in order to downregulate Tβ4 gene expression. This resulted in a reduced cell migratory capacity compared with control cells. Tβ4 gene expression knockdown significantly inhibited transforming growth factor β1-mediated-EMT in vitro by upregulating the expression of E-cadherin. The results of the present study suggested that Tβ4 may promote HB metastasis via the induction of EMT, and that Tβ4 may therefore be a target for the development of novel treatments for patients with HB.

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Sigma-Aldrich
Anti-Actin, α-Smooth Muscle antibody, Mouse monoclonal, clone 1A4, purified from hybridoma cell culture