The Journal of experimental medicine

MCP-1 overexpressed in tuberous sclerosis lesions acts as a paracrine factor for tumor development.

PMID 16129702


Patients with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) develop hamartomatous tumors showing loss of function of the tumor suppressor TSC1 (hamartin) or TSC2 (tuberin) and increased angiogenesis, fibrosis, and abundant mononuclear phagocytes. To identify soluble factors with potential roles in TSC tumorigenesis, we screened TSC skin tumor-derived cells for altered gene and protein expression. Fibroblast-like cells from 10 angiofibromas and five periungual fibromas produced higher levels of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) mRNA and protein than did fibroblasts from the same patient's normal skin. Conditioned medium from angiofibroma cells stimulated chemotaxis of a human monocytic cell line to a greater extent than conditioned medium from TSC fibroblasts, an effect blocked by neutralizing MCP-1-specific antibody. Overexpression of MCP-1 seems to be caused by loss of tuberin function because Eker rat embryonic fibroblasts null for Tsc2 (EEF Tsc2(-/-)) produced 28 times as much MCP-1 protein as did EEF Tsc2(+/+) cells; transient expression of WT but not mutant human TSC2 by EEF Tsc2(-/-) cells inhibited MCP-1 production; and pharmacological inhibition of the Rheb-mTOR pathway, which is hyperactivated after loss of TSC2, decreased MCP-1 production by EEF Tsc2(-/-) cells. Together these findings suggest that MCP-1 is an important paracrine factor for TSC tumorigenesis and may be a new therapeutic target.