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Br J Cancer. 1999 Aug;80(11):1820-5.

Expression of membrane cofactor protein (MCP, CD46) in human liver diseases.

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The First Department of Internal Medicine, Okayama University Medical School, Okayama-city, Japan.


Membrane cofactor protein (MCP, CD46) is one of the complement regulatory proteins, and is widely distributed in human organs and protects cells from complement-mediated cytotoxicity. We analysed the distribution and the intensities of MCP in liver diseases and evaluated the role of MCP during hepatocarcinogenesis. Western blot analysis revealed that relative densities (density of the sample/density of the standard sample) of MCP in 27 HCC, 18 liver cirrhosis, nine chronic hepatitis and 12 normal liver were 0.63+/-0.23, 0.21+/-0.07, 0.25+/-0.10 and 0.11+/-0.03 (mean+/-s.d.) respectively. MCP expression in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) was significantly higher than that in both liver cirrhosis and chronic hepatitis (P < 0.01). The difference in the tumour sizes, the grades of differentiation and viral marker status did not affect the expression. Immunohistological analysis revealed that MCP was distributed mainly in the basolateral membrane of the hepatic cord in non-cancerous liver, along with endothelial cells and bile duct cells. In HCC, the protein was observed on the membrane in a non-polarized fashion. These data suggest that HCC cells acquire the increased MCP expression in a development of HCC and may escape from tumour-specific complement-mediated cytotoxicity.

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