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Scand J Gastroenterol. 2001 Nov;36(11):1204-10.

Evidence for the decreased expression of the latent TGF-beta binding protein and its splice form in human liver tumours.

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  • 1Dept. of Clinical Chemistry and Central Laboratory, Philipps University, Marburg, Germany. sylke.roth-eichhorn@mailbox.tu-dresden.de



Recently, a splice form of the latent TGF-beta binding protein (LTBP-1) was identified in the liver lacking potential important sequences for matrix association and proteinase cleavage (LTBP-1D, -1delta53). For a better understanding of the unknown (patho)physiological role, the expression levels of LTBP-1D and LTBP-1 (full length) were investigated in normal and malignant human liver on the mRNA and protein level.


Normal liver (5 specimens), hepatocellular carcinoma (4 specimens) and fibrolamellar carcinoma (2 specimens) were examined by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry, for which specific antibodies were generated.


The mRNA levels of LTBP-1/-1D in malignant liver tissues are decreased in comparison to normal liver--more so in HCC than in FLC. This finding was confirmed by a strong decrease of immunostaining of LTBP-1/-1D in neoplastic parenchymal cells of HCC and FLC. However, the intensity of LTBP-1 (full length) protein staining was increased in the extracellular matrix of the carcinomas, while LTBP-1D was not detectable in the matrix.


Since TGF-beta is known to be over-expressed in liver tumours, the results suggest its enhanced synthesis without binding to LTBP-1. This probably influences the availability of bioactive TGF-beta in the tumour tissue. The missing matrix localization of LTBP-1D indicates that the hinge region containing a heparin-binding site is essential for the binding of LTBP-1 in the extracellular matrix. LTBP-1D may fulfil specific functions for the latency of matrix-unbound TGF-beta.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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