The EMBO journal

Activated macrophages promote Wnt signalling through tumour necrosis factor-alpha in gastric tumour cells.

PMID 18511911


The activation of Wnt/beta-catenin signalling has an important function in gastrointestinal tumorigenesis. It has been suggested that the promotion of Wnt/beta-catenin activity beyond the threshold is important for carcinogenesis. We herein investigated the role of macrophages in the promotion of Wnt/beta-catenin activity in gastric tumorigenesis. We found beta-catenin nuclear accumulation in macrophage-infiltrated dysplastic mucosa of the K19-Wnt1 mouse stomach. Moreover, macrophage depletion in Apc(Delta716) mice resulted in the suppression of intestinal tumorigenesis. These results suggested the role of macrophages in the activation of Wnt/beta-catenin signalling, which thus leads to tumour development. Importantly, the conditioned medium of activated macrophages promoted Wnt/beta-catenin signalling in gastric cancer cells, which was suppressed by the inhibition of tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha. Furthermore, treatment with TNF-alpha induced glycogen synthase kinase 3beta (GSK3beta) phosphorylation, which resulted in the stabilization of beta-catenin. We also found that Helicobacter infection in the K19-Wnt1 mouse stomach caused mucosal macrophage infiltration and nuclear beta-catenin accumulation. These results suggest that macrophage-derived TNF-alpha promotes Wnt/beta-catenin signalling through inhibition of GSK3beta, which may contribute to tumour development in the gastric mucosa.