Myoepithelial cells surround incipient ductal carcinomas of the breast and exert anti-invasive and antiangiogenic effects in vitro through the elaboration of suppressor molecules. This study examines one putative molecule, solubilized CD44 produced by myoepithelial shedding of membrane CD44. Studies with different human myoepithelial cell lines demonstrate that myoepithelial cells express and shed both the 85-kDa standard (CD44s) and the 130-kDa epithelial (CD44v8-10) isoforms, findings further confirmed by the use of isoform-specific antibodies. PMA pretreatment enhances CD44 shedding detected by two different methods at different time points: a reduction in surface CD44 at 2 h by flow cytometry and a marked decrease in both total cellular CD44 and plasma membrane CD44 at 12 h by Western blot. This shedding is both specific for CD44 and specific for myoepithelial cells. This shedding is inhibited by the chymotrypsin inhibitors chymostatin and alpha(1)-antichymotrypsin but not by general metallo-, cysteine, or other serine proteinase inhibitors. Myoepithelial-cell-conditioned medium and affinity-purified solubilized CD44 from this conditioned medium block hyaluronan adhesion and migration of both human carcinoma cell lines and human umbilical vein endothelial cells.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.