Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection modulates several host cytokines contributing to cancer development. Oncostatin M (OSM), an IL-6 family cytokine, acts to promote cell senescence and inhibit growth. Its dysregulation promotes cell survival, cell proliferation and metastasis in various malignancies. The effect of HPV on OSM dysregulation has not been investigated. To elucidate this, immunohistochemistry was used on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) tissues: HPV-positive (50) and HPV-negative (50) cases. Immortalized human cervical keratinocytes expressing HPV16E6 (HCK1T, Tet-On system) were used to demonstrate the role of HPV16E6 in OSM expression. In addition, a vector containing HPV16E6/E7 was transiently transfected into oral cancer cell lines. Cell viability, cell-cycle progression and cell migration were evaluated using flow cytometry and a wound healing assay, respectively. The results showed various intensities of OSM expression in OSCC. Interestingly, the median percentages of strongly stained cells were significantly higher in HPV-positive OSCCs than in HPV-negative OSCCs. To explore the role of HPV oncoproteins on OSM expression, the expression of HPV16E6 in the HCK1T Tet-On condition was induced by doxycycline and HPV16E6 was found to significantly upregulate levels of OSM mRNA and protein, with concomitant upregulation of c-Myc. In addition, the levels of OSM mRNA and protein in E6/E7 transiently transfected oral cancer cells also gradually increased in a time-dependent manner and these transfected cells showed greater viability and higher migration rates and cell-cycle progression than controls. This result demonstrates that HPV16 oncoproteins upregulate OSM and play an important role to promote OSCC development.
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