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Int J Cancer. 2004 May 10;109(6):833-8.

Expression, regulation and function of autotaxin in thyroid carcinomas.

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Institute of Medical Immunology, University of Halle-Wittenberg, Halle, Germany.


Autotaxin (ATX/NPP2) is a tumor cell motility-stimulating factor that displays both a nucleotide pyrophosphatase/phosphodiesterase activity and a recently described lysophospholipase D (lysoPLD) activity. The precise function of ATX in tumor cells and the role of ATX in thyroid carcinoma remains unclear. We have quantified ATX mRNA expression in thyroid carcinoma cell lines and in tissues of patients with thyroid carcinomas. ATX gene activity was significantly higher in undifferentiated anaplastic thyroid carcinoma cell lines (UTC) and tumor tissues as compared to follicular thyroid carcinoma (FTC) cell lines, FTC tissues or goiter tissues that were used as a control. In the thyroid carcinoma cell line 1736, EGF and bFGF stimulated ATX mRNA expression, whereas the cytokines IL-4, IL-1beta and TGF-beta reduced ATX transcriptional levels. FTC-133 cells, stably transfected with an expression vector for ATX, showed a higher lysoPLD activity, a higher proliferation rate and an increased migratory behavior. In addition, ATX also displayed a paracrine stimulatory effect on the motility of different thyroid carcinoma cell lines. Overexpression of ATX in the stably transfected FTC-133 resulted in down-regulation of CD54/ intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) gene expression and augmented gene activity of the pro-angiogenic chemokine IL-8. We conclude that ATX may be regarded as a new tissue marker for undifferentiated human thyroid carcinoma cells. ATX increases the proliferation and migration of thyroid carcinoma cell lines and may also affect the angiogenic potential of thyroid carcinoma cells. Further studies are needed to provide insight into the role of ATX in the normal and neoplastic thyroid gland.

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