Human surfactant protein D (SP-D) is a potent innate immune molecule, which is emerging as a key molecule in the recognition and clearance of altered and non-self targets. Previous studies have shown that a recombinant fragment of human SP-D (rfhSP-D) induced apoptosis via p53-mediated apoptosis pathway in an eosinophilic leukemic cell line, AML14.3D10. Here, we report the ability of rfhSP-D to induce apoptosis via TNF-α/Fas-mediated pathway regardless of the p53 status in human pancreatic adenocarcinoma using Panc-1 (p53mt), MiaPaCa-2 (p53mt), and Capan-2 (p53wt) cell lines. Treatment of these cell lines with rfhSP-D for 24 h caused growth arrest in G1 cell cycle phase and triggered transcriptional upregulation of pro-apoptotic factors such as TNF-α and NF-κB. Translocation of NF-κB from the cytoplasm into the nucleus of pancreatic cancer cell lines was observed via immunofluorescence microscopy following treatment with rfhSP-D as compared to the untreated cells. The rfhSP-D treatment caused upregulation of pro-apoptotic marker Fas, as analyzed via qPCR and western blot, which then triggered caspase cascade, as evident from cleavage of caspase 8 and 3 analyzed via western blot at 48 h. The cell number following the rfhSP-D treatment was reduced in the order of Panc-1 (~67%) > MiaPaCa-2 (~60%) > Capan-2 (~35%). This study appears to suggest that rfhSP-D can potentially be used to therapeutically target pancreatic cancer cells irrespective of their p53 phenotype.
Keywords: apoptosis; immune surveillance; innate immunity; pancreatic cancer; surfactant protein D.