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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2007 Jan;292(1):G191-200. Epub 2006 Aug 31.

Role of CCN2/CTGF in the proliferation of Mastomys enterochromaffin-like cells and gastric carcinoid development.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Yale University School of Medicine, TMP202, 333 Cedar St., New Haven, CT 06520-8062, USA.


Mastomys enterochromaffin-like (ECL) cell proliferation is initially gastrin driven, but once neoplasia develops, cells become gastrin autonomous. We hypothesized that CCN2 (CTGF), a mitogenic growth factor, may regulate ECL cell proliferation. A Mastomys GeneChip database was examined (dCHIP) to identify CCN2 expression levels. CCN2 in normal and tumor ECL cell preparations obtained using FACS (100 nM acridine orange) was examined by real-time PCR. CCN2 protein was identified in mucosal and ECL cell preparations by immunohistochemistry. Short-term cultured cells were stimulated with either CCN2 or CCN2 + EGF, and proliferation was measured (MTT assay). The ERK1/2 inhibitor PD-98059 (0.1-100 microM) was assessed in terms of CCN2 (1 ng/ml)-mediated proliferation and ERK1/2 phosphorylation. CCN2 transcript and protein was then examined in clinical gastric carcinoids. The ccn2 transcript was upregulated in tumor samples compared with the normal mucosa (+2.36-fold, P < 0.01). PCR demonstrated that ccn2 was not expressed in FACS-prepared (>98% pure) normal ECL cells but was elevated in tumor ECL cell fractions (41.3 +/- 10.7-fold). Immunostaining of the Mastomys gastric mucosa and FACS preparations confirmed that CCN2 protein was present in ECL tumors but not in normal ECL cells. Neither CCN2 nor CCN2 + EGF stimulated normal ECL cell proliferation. CCN2 stimulated tumor proliferation (EC50 approximately 0.01 ng/ml); EGF significantly augmented (P < 0.01) CCN2-induced tumor cell proliferation (EC50 = 20 pg/ml). PD-98059 inhibited CCN2-induced proliferation (-12 +/- 3%, P < 0.05) and ERK1/2 phosphorylation (-34 +/- 5%, P < 0.05) in tumor cells. In clinical samples, both CCN2 transcript and protein were elevated in gastrin-autonomous carcinoids (P < 0.02) compared with the normal mucosa. In conclusion, CCN2 may be a proliferative regulator of Mastomys ECL neoplastic proliferation once these cells become autonomous of gastrin regulation. Identification of CCN2 in gastric carcinoid tissue may be useful both as an indicator of ECL cell transformation and may define gastrin autonomy, a criteria of gastric carcinoid malignancy.

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