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Cathelicidin suppresses colon cancer development by inhibition of cancer associated fibroblasts

Authors Cheng M, Ho S, Yoo JH, Tran D, Bakirtzi K, Su B, Tran D, Kubota Y, Ichikawa R, Koon HW

Received 10 July 2014

Accepted for publication 8 October 2014

Published 17 December 2014 Volume 2015:8 Pages 13—29


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Andreas M Kaiser

Michelle Cheng,1,* Samantha Ho,1,* Jun Hwan Yoo,1,2,* Deanna Hoang-Yen Tran,1,* Kyriaki Bakirtzi,1 Bowei Su,1 Diana Hoang-Ngoc Tran,1 Yuzu Kubota,1 Ryan Ichikawa,1 Hon Wai Koon1

1Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, Division of Digestive Diseases, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA; 2Digestive Disease Center, CHA University Bundang Medical Center, Seongnam, Republic of Korea

*These authors share co-first authorship

Background: Cathelicidin (LL-37 in humans and mCRAMP in mice) represents a family of endogenous antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory peptides. Cancer-associated fibroblasts can promote the proliferation of colon cancer cells and growth of colon cancer tumors.
Methods: We examined the role of cathelicidin in the development of colon cancer, using subcutaneous human HT-29 colon-cancer-cell-derived tumor model in nude mice and azoxymethane- and dextran sulfate-mediated colon cancer model in C57BL/6 mice. We also determined the indirect antitumoral mechanism of cathelicidin via the inhibition of epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) of colon cancer cells and fibroblast-supported colon cancer cell proliferation.
Results: Intravenous administration of cathelicidin expressing adeno-associated virus significantly reduced the size of tumors, tumor-derived collagen expression, and tumor-derived fibroblast expression in HT-29-derived subcutaneous tumors in nude mice. Enema administration of the mouse cathelicidin peptide significantly reduced the size and number of colonic tumors in azoxymethane- and dextran sulfate-treated mice without inducing apoptosis in tumors and the adjacent normal colonic tissues. Cathelicidin inhibited the collagen expression and vimentin-positive fibroblast expression in colonic tumors. Cathelicidin did not directly affect HT-29 cell viability, but did significantly reduce tumor growth factor-ß1-induced EMT of colon cancer cells. Media conditioned by the human colonic CCD-18Co fibroblasts promoted human colon cancer HT-29 cell proliferation. Cathelicidin pretreatment inhibited colon cancer cell proliferation mediated by media conditioned by human colonic CCD-18Co fibroblasts. Cathelicidin disrupted tubulin distribution in colonic fibroblasts. Disruption of tubulin in fibroblasts reduced fibroblast-supported colon cancer cell proliferation.
Conclusion: Cathelicidin effectively inhibits colon cancer development by interfering with EMT and fibroblast-supported colon cancer cell proliferation.

Keywords: colon cancer, epithelial–mesenchymal transition, fibroblasts

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