Author(s): Serge Paschoud, Massimo Bongiovanni, JeanClaude Pache, Sandra Citi
We investigated the expression of tight junction proteins in human lung squamous cell carcinomas and adenocarcinomas by immunohistochemistry and quantitative real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). We found a statistically significant correlation between diagnosis and positivity of tumors with either claudin (CLDN)-1 or CLDN-5. Squamous cell carcinomas and basal cells of bronchial epithelium were positive for CLDN-1 and negative for CLDN-5, whereas adenocarcinomas, normal cylindrical cells and pneumocytes were positive for CLDN-5 and negative for CLDN-1, suggesting different pathways in tumor development and progression. CLDN-4 and ZO-1 staining were detected in both types of tumors, whereas cingulin (CGN) was not detected in squamous cell carcinomas. Quantitative RT-PCR was used to evaluate changes in transcript levels for a large panel of tight junction proteins. In squamous cell carcinomas, we observed statistically significant decreases in the mRNA levels of JAM-1, occludin, CLDN-3, CLDN-4, CLDN-7, CGN, ZO-2 and ZO-3, and an increase in CLDN-1 mRNA. In adenocarcinomas, when transcript levels were compared with bronchial cells, we observed statistically significant decreases in the mRNA levels of CLDN-1, CLDN-3, CLDN-4, CLDN-7, ZO-2 and ZO-3. These results indicate that characterization of tight junction protein expression in human lung tumors can be an additional diagnostic tool and provide new insights on their histogenesis.