TREM1: An inflammatory signal protein with a potential role in cancer

Thu, 12/12/2013 - 12:20

TREM1 is pro-inflammatory gene that stimulates neutrophil and monocyte-mediated inflammatory responses. This protein is highly expressed in adult liver, lung and spleen. It is also present in the lymph node, spinal cord and heart tissues. TREM-1 plays a critical role in acute inflammatory responses to bacteria. In organs such as the liver, damage occurring due to irritants such as alcohol causes TREM-1 to amplify the inflammatory response by mediating a signalling pathway. This has been confirmed by Dr. Anatolij Horuzsko at Georgia Health Sciences University (1). Their research team found that chronic inflammation is caused due to TREM-1 which then stimulates pattern recognition receptor signalling pathways. This in turn initiates secretion of proinflammatory mediators, increases cell production and therefore creates mutated cells which lead to cancer.  Cancer and chronic inflammation has been a highly popular area for research, however, a suitable treatment is yet to be found. Mutated cells thrive in the environment of chronic inflammation. Dr Horuzsko and his team carried out a study on mice to identify the effect of TREM-1 on liver cells and liver cancer. The team found that removing the TREM-1 gene from a set of mice and exposing them to the cancer causing agent, diethylnitrosamine (DEN), resulted in healthy mice with healthy liver cells. Tumors appeared in a very small number after eight months. In the control mice, from which TREM-1 had not been removed, the mice showed signs of liver cell damage within 48hours of exposure to DEN. The levels of TREM-1 in these mice had significantly increased. These major implications suggest further research is required as targeting inflammation as the source of the mutated cells may prevent liver cancer and other cancers linked to inflammation.

  1. PMID: 22719066

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