Natural killer/T cell lymphoma (NKTCL) is a distinct subtype of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma with highly aggressive clinical behavior. We aim to investigate the function of Latent transforming growth factor β binding protein 1 (LTBP1) and transforming growth factor beta1 (TGF-β1) and complex molecular pathogenesis of this disease.
NKTCL patients and reactive lymph nodes patients were recruited in this study. The expression of LTBP-1 and TGF-β1 was examined using qRT-PCR, western blot, IHC and ELISA analyses in biopsied tissues and serum from participants and NKTCL cell lines. Cell proliferation was determined using CFSE. Cell cycle and apoptosis were evaluated using flow cytometric analyses. The expression of Ki-67, CDK4 and cyclinD1 proteins was measured using western blot analysis. The roles of LTBP-1/TGF-β1 in EMT program were determined by measuring E-cadherin, N-cadherin and vimentin using western blot analyses. The effects of LTBP-1and TGF-β1 on tumor progression in vivo were determined by animal experiments.
LTBP-1 and TGF-β1 levels were elevated in NKTCL tissues and serum. The expression of LTBP-1 was positively correlated with the expression of TGF-β1 in NKTCL tissues. LTBP-1 was overexpressed in NKTCL cells. Knockdown of LTBP-1 suppressed proliferation and cell cycle progression, induced cell apoptosis, and suppressed EMT program in NKTCL cells. These effects of LTBP-1 knockdown were attenuated after TGF-β1 stimulation. Knockdown of LTBP-1 inhibited NKTCL tumor weight and volume in vivo. Also, stimulation of TGF-β1 attenuated the suppressive effects on tumor growth from sh-LTBP-1. Silencing of LTBP-1 lowered cellular TGF-β1, phosphorylated-Smad2, phosphorlyatd-Smad3, and phosphorylated-p38 and the suppressive effects were reversed after stimulation of TGF-β1.
Our findings suggested that inhibition of LTBP-1/TGF-β1 suppressed the malignant phenotypes of NKTCL cells and tumor growth via inactivating the canonical TGF-β1/Smad signaling and p38 signaling.

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