Objectives: Recent reports have unambiguously identified the presence and the growth-modulatory role of transient receptor potential vanilloid-1 (TRPV1), a central integrator of pain sensation, on numerous non-neuronal cell types and, of great importance, in certain malignancies. In this study, we have investigated the molecular expression of TRPV1 in the human tongue and its high-incidence malignant (squamous cell carcinoma, SCC) and premalignant (leukoplakia) conditions. Methods: Immunohistochemistry, Western blotting and quantitative 'real-time' Q-PCR were performed to define the expression of TRPV1. Results: A weak and sparse TRPV1-specific immunoreactivity was identified in the basal layers of the healthy human tongue epithelium. By contrast, we observed a dramatically elevated TRPV1-immunoreactivity in all layers of the epithelium both in precancerous and malignant samples. Furthermore, statistical analysis revealed that the marked overexpression of TRPV1 found in all grades of SCC showed no correlation with the degree of malignancy of the tumours. Finally, the molecular expression of TRPV1 was also identified in an SCC-derived cell line and was shown to be increased in parallel with the accelerated growth of the cells. Conclusion: Collectively, our findings identify TRPV1 as a novel, promising target molecule in the supportive treatment and diagnosis of human tongue SCC.
- Human tongue epithelium
- Human tongue squamous cell carcinoma
- Transient receptor potential vanilloid-1 (TRPV1)
ASJC Scopus subject areas