TLR4 protects against lung tumor promotion and pulmonary inflammation in mice. Connexin 43 (Cx43), a gap junction gene, was increased in Tlr4 wildtype compared to Tlr4 -mutant mice in response to promotion, which suggests gap junctional intercellular communication (GJIC) may be compromised. We hypothesized that the early tumor microenvironment, represented by Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid (BALF) from Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT; promoter)-treated mice, would produce TLR4-dependent changes in pulmonary epithelium, including dysregulation of GJIC in the Tlr4 -mutant (BALB Lps-d ) compared to the Tlr4 -sufficient (BALB; wildtype) mice. BHT (4 weekly doses) was injected ip followed by BALF collection at 24 h. BALF total protein and total macrophages were significantly elevated in BHT-treated BALB Lps-d over BALB mice, similar to previous findings. BALF was then utilized in an ex vivo manner to treat C10 cells, a murine alveolar type II cell line, followed by the scrape-load dye transfer assay (GJIC), Cx43 immunostaining, and quantitative RT-PCR ( Mcp-1, monocyte chemotactic protein 1 ). GJIC was markedly reduced in C10 cells treated with BHT-treated BALB Lps-d BALF for 4 and 24 h compared to BALB and control BALF from the respective mice (p < 0.05). Mcp-1 , a chemokine, was also significantly increased in the BHT- treated BALB Lps-d BALF compared to the BALB mice, and Cx43 protein expression in the cell membrane altered. These novel findings suggest signaling from the BALF milieu is involved in GJIC dysregulation associated with promotion and links gap junctions to pulmonary TLR4 protection in a novel ex vivo model that could assist in future potential tumor promoter screening.
Last date updated on February, 2021