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PLoS One. 2014 Aug 15;9(7):e104877. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0104877. eCollection 2014.

Increased expression of chemerin in squamous esophageal cancer myofibroblasts and role in recruitment of mesenchymal stromal cells.

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Department of Cell and Molecular Physiology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom.
Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary.
Department of Pathology, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary.
Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Translational Medicine, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom.
Institute of Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom.
Department of Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, United States of America.
ChemoCentryx, California, United States of America.


Stromal cells such as myofibroblasts influence tumor progression. The mechanisms are unclear but may involve effects on both tumor cells and recruitment of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) which then colonize tumors. Using iTRAQ and LC-MS/MS we identified the adipokine, chemerin, as overexpressed in esophageal squamous cancer associated myofibroblasts (CAMs) compared with adjacent tissue myofibroblasts (ATMs). The chemerin receptor, ChemR23, is expressed by MSCs. Conditioned media (CM) from CAMs significantly increased MSC cell migration compared to ATM-CM; the action of CAM-CM was significantly reduced by chemerin-neutralising antibody, pretreatment of CAMs with chemerin siRNA, pretreatment of MSCs with ChemR23 siRNA, and by a ChemR23 receptor antagonist, CCX832. Stimulation of MSCs by chemerin increased phosphorylation of p42/44, p38 and JNK-II kinases and inhibitors of these kinases and PKC reversed chemerin-stimulated MSC migration. Chemerin stimulation of MSCs also induced expression and secretion of macrophage inhibitory factor (MIF) that tended to restrict migratory responses to low concentrations of chemerin but not higher concentrations. In a xenograft model consisting of OE21 esophageal cancer cells and CAMs, homing of MSCs administered i.v. was inhibited by CCX832. Thus, chemerin secreted from esophageal cancer myofibroblasts is a potential chemoattractant for MSCs and its inhibition may delay tumor progression.

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