Tight junction (TJ) components were found to be correlated with carcinogenesis and tumor development. TJs are composed of three main integral membrane proteins; occludin, claudins and JAMs. Alteration of the TJ protein expression may play an important role in the process of cell dissociation, which is among the first steps of tumor invasion and metastasis. Reduced expression of ZO-1 has been reported to be associated with invasion of several tumors. The aim of the present study was to detect differences between occludin and ZO-1 expression in normal liver samples, HCCs and colorectal liver metastases. Expression of occludin and ZO-1 was analysed in 25 surgically removed human hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC) and 25 human colorectal liver metastases. Gene expression levels were measured by real-time RT PCR, protein expression was determined by immunohistochemistry, comparing tumors with the surrounding nontumorous parenchyma and with seven normal liver samples. Occludin and ZO-1 mRNAs showed significant downregulation in HCCs in comparison with normal liver and were also downregulated in the metastases when compared with normal liver. Occludin and ZO-1 proteins were weakly expressed on hepatocytes in normal liver, while strong expression was found on bile canaliculi. In HCCs occludin and ZO-1 did not show immunopositivity on tumor cells, while colorectal metastatic tumors revealed high levels of these molecules. HCCs and metastases are characterized by markedly different protein expression pattern of occludin and ZO-1, which phenomenon might be attributed to the different histogenesis of these tumors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Cancer Research