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J Invest Dermatol. 1993 Feb;100(2):115-20.

Migration of human melanoma cells on hyaluronate is related to CD44 expression.

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Dermatopathology Division, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.


Phenotypic and functional aspects of melanoma-hyaluronate interactions were investigated by studying the expression of CD44, cell migration, and transmembrane penetration of human melanoma cell lines on hyaluronate-coated substrates. Expression of CD44 was tested by flow cytometry on seven human melanoma cell lines. Strong reactivity with anti-CD44 monoclonal antibody was observed in four of seven of the cell lines. Migration studies of CD44(+) cell lines on hyaluronic acid- and chondroitin-6-sulfate-coated substrates, using time-lapse video-microscopy, showed a dramatic dose-dependent increase in migration rate on hyaluronate but not on chondroitin-6-sulfate. Moreover, CD44(-) cell lines showed no modification in migration rate on either substrate. Addition of soluble hyaluronate produced a dose-dependent inhibition of acceleration of CD44(+)cells on hyaluronate-coated substrates, whereas addition of chondroitin-6-sulfate had no effect. Migration inhibition experiments with soluble CD44 (CD44 receptor globulin) also showed specific blocking of the migration of CD44(+) cells on hyaluronate. Haptotactic invasion was increased in CD44(+) cell lines through hyaluronate-coated polycarbonate membranes, whereas no change was detected on chondroitin-6-sulfate-coated membranes. CD44(-) cell lines showed no response to either type of coating. In the melanoma cell lines tested, the expression of CD44 correlated with in vitro migration and invasiveness on hyaluronate substrates. Taken together, our data are consistent with the suggestion that CD44 may play a role in stimulating in vivo aggressiveness of tumors through hyaluronate-rich stroma.

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