Investigating Microenvironmental Regulation of Human Chordoma Cell Behaviour

PLoS One. 2014 Dec 26;9(12):e115909. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0115909. eCollection 2014.

Abstract

The tumour microenvironment is complex and composed of many different constituents, including matricellular proteins such as connective tissue growth factor (CCN2), and is characterized by gradients in oxygen levels. In various cancers, hypoxia and CCN2 promote stem and progenitor cell properties, and regulate the proliferation, migration and phenotype of cancer cells. Our study was aimed at investigating the effects of hypoxia and CCN2 on chordoma cells, using the human U-CH1 cell line. We demonstrate that under basal conditions, U-CH1 cells express multiple CCN family members including CCN1, CCN2, CCN3 and CCN5. Culture of U-CH1 cells in either hypoxia or in the presence of recombinant CCN2 peptide promoted progenitor cell-like characteristics specific to the notochordal tissue of origin. Specifically, hypoxia induced the most robust increase in progenitor-like characteristics in U-CH1 cells, including increased expression of the notochord-associated markers T, CD24, FOXA1, ACAN and CA12, increased cell growth and tumour-sphere formation, and a decrease in the percentage of vacuolated cells present in the heterogeneous population. Interestingly, the effects of recombinant CCN2 peptide on U-CH1 cells were more pronounced under normoxia than hypoxia, promoting increased expression of CCN1, CCN2, CCN3 and CCN5, the notochord-associated markers SOX5, SOX6, T, CD24, and FOXA1 as well as increased tumour-sphere formation. Overall, this study highlights the importance of multiple factors within the tumour microenvironment and how hypoxia and CCN2 may regulate human chordoma cell behaviour.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Chordoma / complications
  • Chordoma / genetics
  • Chordoma / metabolism*
  • Chordoma / pathology*
  • Connective Tissue Growth Factor / genetics
  • Connective Tissue Growth Factor / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / complications
  • Hypoxia / genetics
  • Hypoxia / metabolism
  • Hypoxia / pathology
  • Tumor Microenvironment*

Substances

  • Connective Tissue Growth Factor