Background: Thymosin beta 4 (T beta 4) has been shown to be associated with tumor metastasis and angiogenesis; however, its role in pancreatic cancer has not been understood. In the current study, we examined the expression of T beta 4 in pancreatic cancer cells, and determined the effect of exogenous T beta 4 on cytokine secretion, and signal transduction in human pancreatic cancer cells.
Results: Pancreatic cancer cell lines expressed higher amount of T beta 4 mRNA than normal human pancreatic ductal epithelium (HPDE) cells. Exogenous T beta 4 increased the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines IL-6, IL-8 and MCP-1 in Panc-1 cells. In addition, T beta 4 activated Jun N-terminal Kinase (JNK) signaling pathways in pancreatic cancer cells.
Methods: The mRNA levels of T beta 4 were determined by real-time RT PCR. Phosphorylation of JNK in pancreatic cancer cells was determined using Bio-Plex phosphoprotein assay. The expression of cytokines in human pancreatic cancer cell lines was determined with Bio-Plex cytokine assay.
Conclusions: T beta 4 might be involved in stimulating human pancreatic cancer progression by promoting proinflammatory cytokine environment and activating JNK signaling pathway. Targeting T beta 4 and related molecules may be a novel therapeutic strategy for pancreatic cancer.