Overexpression of human β-defensin 2 promotes growth and invasion during esophageal carcinogenesis.

Shi N, Jin F, Zhang X, Clinton SK, Pan Z, Chen T
Oncotarget 5 11333-44 11/30/2014


Human β-defensin 2 (HBD-2) is an antimicrobial peptide produced by mucosal surfaces in response to microbial exposure or inflammatory cytokines. Although HBD-2 is expressed in the esophagus in response to stress and infectious agents, little is known regarding its expression and functional role in esophageal carcinogenesis. In the current investigation, normal esophagus and N-nitrosomethylbenzylamine (NMBA)-induced precancerous and papillomatous lesions of the rat esophagus were characterized for HBD-2 encoding gene Defb4 and protein. HBD-2 was found to be overexpressed in esophagi of rats treated with NMBA compared to animals in control group. Results of Real-time PCR, Western blot and immunohistochemistry demonstrated a positive correlation between the overexpression of HBD-2 and the progression of rat squamous cell carcinogenesis (SCC) in the esophagus. We also observed that HBD-2 is overexpressed in tumor tissues removed from patients with esophageal SCC. Moreover, Defb4 silencing in vitro suppresses the tumor cell proliferation, mobility and invasion in esophageal SCC cell line KYSE-150. The results from this study provide experimental evidence that HBD-2 may play an oncogenic role in the initiation and progression of esophageal SCC and thus serves as a target for chemopreventive and therapeutic interventions.

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