Several genes associated with remodeling in the extracellular matrix of horse skin cells, leading to sarcoid formation, have been pinpointed by researchers.
The study by Przemysław Podstawski and his fellow researchers has cast further light on the processes that lead to sarcoid formation.
An important component of tissue is the extracellular matrix. It not only forms a tissue scaffold, but also provides the environment for many biochemical reactions.
Its composition is strictly controlled, and any irregularities can result in the development of many diseases, including cancer.
Sarcoids are the most common skin cancer in horses, arising from the presence of the genetic material of the bovine papillomavirus. It is also assumed that sarcoid-dependent tumour transformation arises from a disturbed wound healing process, which may be due to the incorrect functioning of the extracellular matrix.
Sarcoids are characterized by a failure to metastasize – that is, a failure to spread to other areas.
Researchers in the study, reported in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, decided to investigate the differences in the expression profiles of genes related not only to extracellular matrix remodeling, but also to the cell adhesion pathway.
In doing so, they sought to determine the influence of any disturbances within the extracellular matrix on the sarcoid formation process. They did so, through molecular-based analysis of equine sarcoid tissue and healthy skin samples, comparing the results.
Their results strongly support the hypothesis that extracellular matrix-related genes are correlated with sarcoid formation. Changes in the expression of selected genes were shown in both equine sarcoid tissue as well as adult skin fibroblast cells that had been rendered cancerous in the laboratory. Such changes were not seen in healthy skin samples.
The identified genes related to the extracellular matrix were either up-regulated or down-regulated in the diseased samples.
Unravelling the molecular pathways of extracellular matrix remodeling and cell adhesion in models of sarcoid-related cancer development might provide powerful tools for further investigations of biomarkers for both silencing and re-initiating the processes of sarcoid-dependent neoplasia, they said.
The study team comrised Podstawski, Katarzyna Ropka-Molik, Ewelina Semik-Gurgul, Marcin Samiec, Maria Skrzyszowska Tomasz Szmatoła and Klaudia Pawlina-Tyszko, all with the National Research Institute of Animal Production in Poland; Zenon Podstawski, with the University of Agriculture in Kraków; and Maciej Witkowski, with the University Centre of Veterinary Medicine in Mickiewicza.
Podstawski, P.; Ropka-Molik, K.; Semik-Gurgul, E.; Samiec, M.; Skrzyszowska, M.; Podstawski, Z.; Szmatoła, T.; Witkowski, M.; Pawlina-Tyszko, K. Tracking the Molecular Scenarios for Tumorigenic Remodeling of Extracellular Matrix Based on Gene Expression Profiling in Equine Skin Neoplasia Models. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23, 6506. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23126506