J Cancer 2017; 8(16):3105-3113. doi:10.7150/jca.18860 This issue
1. Endocrine Program, Department of Animal Sciences, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901, USA;
2. Current address: Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
In recent years, experimental studies demonstrated negative impacts of impaired body stress response on colonic pathologies. In this study, we tested if reducing body stress response by the use of β-endorphin (BEP) neuronal transplants in the hypothalamus suppresses pre-neoplastic and neoplastic lesions. Colon cancer was induced by injecting 1,2-dimethylhydrazine (DMH) for sixteen weeks in Sprague Dawley rats with BEP neuron transplants or control neuron transplants, and their colonic histopathologies, colon tissue levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) proteins and splenic levels of cytotoxic proteins were measured. Our results revealed that DMH induced tumors in colon at 100% incidence in control rats but failed to induce colonic tumors in 70% of animal with BEP neuronal transplants. The mean volume of tumor at the colon was smaller in BEP neurons transplanted rats than those in controls. Histopathologies of colon tissues revealed that BEP neurons transplanted animals had lesser tissue lesions such as aberrant crypt foci (ACF) and adenocarcinoma development in the colon than those in control groups. Immunohistochemical and western blot analyses identified reduced expression of Ki-67, TNF-α and NF-κB nuclear translocation in colonic tissues of BEP neurons transplanted rats than those in controls. BEP neurons transplanted rats also showed reduced expressions of transcription factors linked to EMT like Snail, Twist, and N-cadherin, but increased the levels of an epithelial cell marker E-cadherin in colon tissue. Furthermore, splenic NK cells cytolytic proteins such as perforin, granzyme B and IFN-γ levels in BEP neurons transplanted rats were higher than those in control rats. These data suggest that BEP neuron transplants suppress the growth and progression of colonic tumors possibly by decreasing inflammatory mileu and EMT via activation of innate immune responses.