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Virchows Arch. 2014 Aug;465(2):173-83. doi: 10.1007/s00428-014-1602-x. Epub 2014 Jun 12.

Neuropeptide S receptor 1 (NPSR1) activates cancer-related pathways and is widely expressed in neuroendocrine tumors.

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Pulmonary Division, Department of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

Erratum in

  • Virchows Arch. 2014 Aug;465(2):251. Dario, G [corrected to Grecco, D].


Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) arise from disseminated neuroendocrine cells and express general and specific neuroendocrine markers. Neuropeptide S receptor 1 (NPSR1) is expressed in neuroendocrine cells and its ligand neuropeptide S (NPS) affects cell proliferation. Our aim was to study whether NPS/NPSR1 could be used as a biomarker for neuroendocrine neoplasms and to identify the gene pathways affected by NPS/NPSR1. We collected a cohort of NETs comprised of 91 samples from endocrine glands, digestive tract, skin, and lung. Tumor type was validated by immunostaining of chromogranin-A and synaptophysin expression and tumor grade was analyzed by Ki-67 proliferation index. NPS and NPSR1 expression was quantified by immunohistochemistry using polyclonal antibodies against NPS and monoclonal antibodies against the amino-terminus and carboxy-terminus of NPSR1 isoform A (NPSR1-A). The effects of NPS on downstream signaling were studied in a human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cell line which overexpresses NPSR1-A and is of neuroendocrine origin. NPSR1 and NPS were expressed in most NET tissues, with the exception of adrenal pheochromocytomas in which NPS/NPSR1 immunoreactivity was very low. Transcriptome analysis of NPSR1-A overexpressing cells revealed that mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways, circadian activity, focal adhesion, transforming growth factor beta, and cytokine-cytokine interactions were the most altered gene pathways after NPS stimulation. Our results show that NETs are a source of NPS and NPSR1, and that NPS affects cancer-related pathways.

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