Monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1)/CCL2 secreted by hepatic myofibroblasts promotes migration and invasion of human hepatoma cells


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Abstract

The aim of our study was to investigate whether myofibroblasts and the chemokine monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1)/CCL2 may play a role in hepatocellular carcinoma progression. We observed that hepatic myofibroblast LI90 cells express MCP-1/CCL2 mRNA and secrete this chemokine. Moreover, myofibroblast LI90 cell-conditioned medium (LI90-CM) induces human hepatoma Huh7 cell migration and invasion. These effects are strongly reduced when a MCP-1/CCL2-depleted LI90-CM was used. We showed that MCP-1/CCL2 induces Huh7 cell migration and invasion through its G-protein–coupled receptor CCR2 and, to a lesser extent, through CCR1 only at high MCP-1/CCL2 concentrations. MCP-1/CCL2's chemotactic activities rely on tyrosine phosphorylation of focal adhesion components and depend on matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MMP-9. Furthermore, we observed that Huh7 cell migration and invasion induced by the chemokine are strongly inhibited by heparin, by β-D-xyloside treatment of cells and by anti-syndecan-1 and -4 antibodies. Finally, we developed a 3-dimensional coculture model of myofibroblast LI90 and Huh7 cells and demonstrated that MCP-1/CCL2 and its membrane partners, CCR1 and CCR2, may be involved in the formation of mixed hepatoma-myofibroblast spheroids. In conclusion, our data show that human liver myofibroblasts act on hepatoma cells in a paracrine manner to increase their invasiveness and suggest that myofibroblast-derived MCP-1/CCL2 could be involved in the pathogenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma.

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