Author(s): Nagel JM, Geiger BM, Karagiannis AK, GrasMiralles B, Horst D, , Nagel JM, Geiger BM, Karagiannis AK, GrasMiralles B, Horst D,
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) is an evolutionary conserved hypothalamic neuropeptide that in mammals primarily regulates appetite and energy balance. We have recently identified a novel role for MCH in intestinal inflammation by demonstrating attenuated experimental colitis in MCH deficient mice or wild type mice treated with an anti-MCH antibody. Therefore, targeting MCH has been proposed for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. Given the link between chronic intestinal inflammation and colorectal cancer, in the present study we sought to investigate whether blocking MCH might have effects on intestinal tumorigenesis that are independent of inflammation. METHODOLOGY: Tumor development was evaluated in MCH-deficient mice crossed to the APCmin mice which develop spontaneously intestinal adenomas. A different cohort of MCH-/- and MCH+/+ mice in the APCmin background was treated with dextran sodium sulphate (DSS) to induce inflammation-dependent colorectal tumors. In Caco2 human colorectal adenocarcinoma cells, the role of MCH on cell survival, proliferation and apoptosis was investigated. RESULTS: APCmin mice lacking MCH developed fewer, smaller and less dysplastic tumors in the intestine and colon which at the molecular level are characterized by attenuated activation of the wnt/beta-catenin signaling pathway and increased apoptotic indices. Form a mechanistic point of view, MCH increased the survival of colonic adenocarcinoma Caco2 cells via inhibiting apoptosis, consistent with the mouse studies. CONCLUSION: In addition to modulating inflammation, MCH was found to promote intestinal tumorigenesis at least in part by inhibiting epithelial cell apoptosis. Thereby, blocking MCH as a therapeutic approach is expected to decrease the risk for colorectal cancer.
This article was published in PLoS One
and referenced in Cancer Surgery