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Int J Cancer. 2001 Apr 15;92(2):249-56.

Lysophosphatidic acid, a novel lipid growth factor for human thyroid cells: over-expression of the high-affinity receptor edg4 in differentiated thyroid cancer.

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Clinic for General Surgery and Trauma Surgery, Medizinische Einrichtungen, Heinrich-Heine-Universität, Moorenstr. 5, 40225 Dusseldorf, Germany.


Lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) is a small lipid mediator with pleiotropic biological activities, e.g., the regulation of cellular proliferation and various aspects of cellular physiology. Signal transduction is achieved by binding to 2 high-affinity receptors, EDG2 and EDG4, and a group of low-affinity receptors, EDG1-7, all belonging to the superfamily of G protein-coupled receptors. We examined the growth-regulatory effects of LPA in primary cultures of 8 goiters and 1 papillary thyroid cancer. We further assessed mRNA expression of high-affinity receptors EDG2 and EDG4 in 14 normal thyroids, 29 papillary thyroid cancers, 7 follicular thyroid cancers and 13 goiters by quantitative RT-PCR. We also identified mRNA expression of phospholipase A(2) and LPA acyltransferase in fresh thyroid tissues derived from various sources. At concentrations of 10, 50 and 150 microM, LPA induced a 2-fold rise of proliferation (p < 0.001) and acted as strongly as thyrotropin. The combination of LPA and TSH produced significant synergistic effects compared with each substance alone (p < 0.05). Normal thyroid, goiter and papillary or follicular thyroid cancer expressed 2 high-affinity cognate LPA receptors, EDG2 and EDG4. EDG4 receptor mRNA expression was increased 3-fold in differentiated thyroid cancer (p < 0.01), both papillary (p < 0.01) and follicular (p < 0.05), compared to normal thyroid or goiter. Overall expression of EDG2 receptor was unchanged in malignancy; however, increased EDG2 expression in individual samples correlated with lymphonodular metastasis (p = 0.01). Thus, lipid mediators are a novel class of factors involved in the control of proliferation in the human thyroid. Altered mRNA expression of the high-affinity LPA receptor EDG4 suggests a role in the pathogenesis of differentiated thyroid cancer.

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