As a member of the Eph family of receptor tyrosine kinases, EphA7 plays an important role in cancer. However, the expression and significance of Eph receptors in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) remain unclear. Here, we detected the expression of EphA7 by immunohistochemistry in a sample of 352 patients with ESCC, and aimed to investigate the expression status of EphA7 in ESCC and its impact on prognosis. The results showed that low EphA7 expression significantly correlated with lymph node metastases (N0: 29%; N1: 64%. p<0.001), poor degree of tumor differentiation (G1: 31%; G2: 49%; G3: 58%. p=0.009) and pTNM staging (I+II: 33%; III+IV: 58%. p<0.001). Furthermore, in a combined analysis, patients with low EphA7-expressing tumors showed a shorter overall survival than those with high expression, resulting in a five-year overall survival rate of 47.4% vs. 52.6%, respectively (p=0.016). Consequently, patients with a low EphA7 expression have poorer prognosis in ESCC compared with those manifesting high expression.
Pulmonary emphysema is a progressive disease with airspace destruction and an effective therapy is needed. Keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) promotes pulmonary epithelial proliferation and has the potential to induce lung regeneration. The aim of this study was to determine the possibility of using KGF gene therapy for treatment of a mouse emphysema model induced by porcine pancreatic elastase (PPE). Eight-week-old BALB/c male mice treated with intra-tracheal PPE administration were transfected with 80 μg of a recombinant human KGF (rhKGF)-expressing FLAG-CMV14 plasmid (pKGF-FLAG gene), or with the pFLAG gene expressing plasmid as a control, into the quadriceps muscle by electroporation. In the lung, the expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) was augmented, and surfactant protein A (SP-A) and KGF receptor (KGFR) were co-expressed in PCNA-positive cells. Moreover, endogenous KGF and KGFR gene expression increased significantly by pKGF-FLAG gene transfection. Arterial blood gas analysis revealed that the PaO2 level was not significantly reduced on day 14 after PPE instillation with pKGF-FLAG gene transfection compared to that of normal mice. These results indicated that KGF gene therapy with electroporation stimulated lung epithelial proliferation and protected depression of pulmonary function in a mouse emphysema model, suggesting a possible method of treating pulmonary emphysema.
To elucidate the fate of the epithelial root sheath during initial cellular cementogenesis, we examined developing maxillary first molars of rats by immunohistochemistry for keratin, vimentin, and tissue non-specific alkaline phosphatase (TNALP) and by TdT-mediated dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL). The advancing root end was divided into three sections, which follow three distinct stages of initial cellular cementogenesis: section 1, where the epithelial sheath is intact; section 2, where the epithelial sheath becomes fragmented; and section 3, where initial cellular cementogenesis begins. After fragmentation of the epithelial sheath, many keratin-positive epithelial sheath cells were embedded in the rapidly growing cellular cementum. A few unembedded epithelial cells located on the cementum surface. Dental follicle cells, precementoblasts, and cementoblasts showed immunoreactivity for vimentin and TNALP. In all three sections, there were virtually no cells possessing double immunoreactivity for vimentin-keratin or TNALP-keratin and only embedded epithelial cells showed TUNEL reactivity. Taken together, these findings suggest that: (1) epithelial sheath cells divide into two groups; one group is embedded in the cementum and thereafter dies by apoptosis, and the other survives on the cementum surface as epithelial cell rests of Malassez; and (2) epithelial sheath cells do not undergo epithelial-mesenchymal transition during initial cellular cementogenesis.