Mouse colon carcinoma cell line colon 38 was used to investigate migratory factor for fibroblasts because marked fibrotic tissue was associated with these cells growing at transplanted sites and liver metastases in vivo. Migration-inducing activity was detected in the serum-free culture supernatants of colon 38 cells, as shown by the Boyden chamber assays using NIH3T3 cells as target cells. The active substance was partially purified by a combination of anion-exchange, hydrophobic, and gel-permeation chromatography. An approximate relative molecular mass of the active substance was estimated to be between 100,000 and 400,000, judging from the eluting position in the gel-permeation chromatography. The migratory activity in the partially purified preparation was removed by incubation with beads coated with an anti-mouse fibronectin antibody. NIH3T3 cells incubated in the presence of culture supernatants of colon 38 cells exhibited higher growth rate, organized actin filaments, and increased chondroitin sulfate and hyaluronan. Fibronectin did not elicit such effects and partially purified migratory factor showed relatively low activity in these regards. Thus, colon 38 cells seem to secrete fibronectin and other soluble substances, which induce tumor stroma formation through migration and activation of host fibroblasts.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.