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Lab Invest. 2004 May;84(5):639-48.

Regulation of aminopeptidase A expression in cervical carcinoma: role of tumor-stromal interaction and vascular endothelial growth factor.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya, Japan.


We previously demonstrated that aminopeptidase A (APA), a membrane-bound metallopeptidase degrading bioactive peptides such as angiotensin II (Ang II), is expressed in neoplastic lesions of the uterine cervix, and that its expression is upregulated as the lesion progresses from cervical intraepithelial neoplasms (CIN) toward invasive squamous cell carcinomas (SCC). The present study investigated the regulatory mechanisms involved in APA expression and its potential role in cervical carcinoma. Immunohistochemical staining in high-grade CIN and SCC tissues showed that APA was strongly expressed at the edge of lesions adjacent to cervical stromal cells. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis demonstrated that cell surface APA expression was extremely low in three human SCC cell lines, SiHa, TCS and CaSki, under basal conditions. However, both contact and noncontact cocultures with human cervical fibroblasts resulted in the induction of APA expression in these SCC cells. APA expression was also induced in vivo when TCS cells were subcutaneously inoculated into nude mice. Furthermore, APA expression and enzymatic activity were enhanced by addition of the conditioned medium (CM) from fibroblast culture, but not by heat-treated CM. Among the various cytokines tested, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) significantly increased APA activity, and induction of APA by the fibroblast CM was partly inhibited by anti-VEGF neutralizing antibody. Finally, APA cDNA-transfected APA-overexpressing TCS cells significantly reduced the Ang II-induced cell invasion ability as compared with parental or control vector-transfected TCS cells, although there was no significant difference in cellular proliferation among them. These results suggested the importance of tumor-stromal interaction for the regulation of APA expression in the microenvironment of cervical carcinoma and the potential role for this peptidase in regulating tumor invasion through inactivation of Ang II activity.

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