Progalanin is released from the small cell lung carcinoma line SBC-3A and converted to its active form by plasmin. To elucidate the role of progalanin activation in the extracellular compartment, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity was studied in SBC-3A cells treated with progalanin siRNA, and angiogenesis was measured in tumor tissue originating from SBC-3A cell transplantation into mice. Progalanin siRNA caused downregulation of progalanin expression for approximately 8 days. MMP activity and angiogenesis were reduced in tumors induced by transplantation of progalanin siRNA-treated SBC-3A cells. In contrast, MMP-9 and MMP-2 activity and angiogenesis increased in tumors originating from progalanin siRNA-treated SBC-3A cells in the presence of galanin and progalanin. Furthermore, injection of tranexamic acid, a plasmin inhibitor, more markedly reduced MMP-9 and MMP-2 activity and angiogenesis in tumors originating from progalanin siRNA-treated SBC-3A cells and in tumor tissue originating from progalanin siRNA-treated SBC-3A cells in the presence of progalanin. The reduction of MMP-9 and MMP-2 activity with tranexamic acid was restored by galanin, but not by progalanin. Moreover, tranexamic acid reduced angiogenesis in control siRNA-treated SBC-3A cells. These results suggest that the activation of progalanin by plasmin in the extracellular compartment was involved in MMP-9 and MMP-2 activation and in angiogenesis in tumor tissue.
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