Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection contributes to tumorigenesis of various human malignancies including nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). EBV triggers innate immune and inflammatory responses partly through Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling. Lactoferrin (LF), with its anti-inflammatory properties, is an important component of the innate immune system. We previously reported that LF protects human B lymphocytes from EBV infection by its ability to bind to the EBV receptor CD21, but whether LF can suppress EBV-induced inflammation is unclear. Here, we report that LF reduced synthesis of IL-8 and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) induced by EBV in macrophages via its suppression of NF-?B activity. LF interacted with TLR2 and interfered with EBV-triggered TLR2-NF-?B activation. LF inhibited the ability of TLR9 to recognize dsDNA by binding to its co-receptor CD14, which blocked the interaction between CD14 and TLR9. EBV-induced inflammation was thus aggravated in the presence of CD14. In addition, LF expression levels were significantly downregulated in NPC specimens, and correlated inversely with IL-8 and MCP-1 expression. These findings suggest that LF may suppress the EBV-induced inflammatory response through interfering with the activation of TLR2 and TLR9.
Nonresolving inflammatory processes affect all stages of carcinogenesis. Lactoferrin, a member of the transferrin family, is involved in the innate immune response and anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and anti-tumor activities. We previously found that lactoferrin is significantly down-regulated in specimens of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) and negatively associated with tumor progression, metastasis, and prognosis of patients with NPC. Additionally, lactoferrin expression levels are decreased in colorectal cancer as compared with normal tissue. Lactoferrin levels are also increased in the various phases of inflammation and dysplasia in an azoxymethane-dextran sulfate sodium (AOM-DSS) model of colitis-associated colon cancer (CAC). We thus hypothesized that the anti-inflammatory function of lactoferrin may contribute to its anti-tumor activity. Here we generated a new Lactoferrin knockout mouse model in which the mice are fertile, develop normally, and display no gross morphological abnormalities. We then challenged these mice with chemically induced intestinal inflammation to investigate the role of lactoferrin in inflammation and cancer development. Lactoferrin knockout mice demonstrated a great susceptibility to inflammation-induced colorectal dysplasia, and this characteristic may be related to inhibition of NF-?B and AKT/mTOR signaling as well as regulation of cell apoptosis and proliferation. Our results suggest that the protective roles of lactoferrin in colorectal mucosal immunity and inflammation-related malignant transformation, along with a deficiency in certain components of the innate immune system, may lead to serious consequences under conditions of inflammatory insult.
LTF (lactotransferrin, or lactoferrin) plays important role in innate immunity, and its anti-tumor function has also been reported in multiple cancers. We previously reported that LTF is significantly down-regulated in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) and acts as a tumor suppressor by suppressing AKT signaling. However, the exact mechanism of the down-regulation of LTF in NPC has not been revealed. In the current study, we screened and identified LTF is a bona fide target of miR-214 in NPC cells. miR-214 mimics significantly suppressed LTF mRNA and protein expression levels in NPC cells. miR-214 not only can promote NPC cell proliferation and invasion abilities in vitro, but also can accelerate tumor formation and lung metastasis in a mouse xenograft model. The pro-tumor function of miR-214 was depended on LTF suppression since LTF re-expression can reverse it. miR-214 can also activate AKT signaling by suppressing LTF expression. Furthermore, miR-214 expression level was up-regulated in NPC especially in metastasis-prone NPC tumor tissues compared with normal nasopharyngeal epithelial tissues, while the LTF expression level was negatively correlated with miR-214, suggesting that miR-214 targeting is partly responsible for LTF down-regulation in NPC specimens.
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