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P Grellier, D Berrebi, M Peuchmaur, and S Babajko

With a view to investigating the implication of IGF-binding protein-6 (IGFBP-6) in the growth of neuroblastomas, nude mice were injected with IGFBP-6-expressing or control IGR-N-91 human neuroblastoma cells and the resulting xenografts examined. Expression of IGFBP-3, IGFBP-4 and type 1 and type 2 IGF receptor messengers was similar in control tumours and equal-sized IGFBP-6-expressing tumours that had developed. IGF-II was more strongly expressed in control tumours, and IGFBP-6-expressing tumours contained less IGFBP-2 than controls. In both populations, there was a significant positive correlation between IGF-II and IGFBP-2 expression. In small IGFBP-6-expressing xenografts where tumour development had apparently been arrested, haematoxylin--eosin and TUNEL staining revealed numerous apoptotic cells. In situ hybridization indicated homogeneous distribution of the IGFBP-6 signal in test tumours. In cell culture, IGFBP-6-expressing cells expressed similar amounts of IGFBP-2, IGF-II and N-myc mRNAs as control cells; but media conditioned by IGFBP-6-expressing cells contained less intact IGFBP-2 protein, with no increase in its proteolytic fragment. In media treated with plasminogen, in which IGFBP-2 was proteolysed, IGFBP-6 was increased. With its especially strong affinity for IGF-II and its resistance to proteolysis, IGFBP-6 would act by sequestering IGF-II, hence inhibiting its mitogenic and anti-apoptotic effects. In excess, IGFBP-6 would displace IGF-II from IGFBP-2 whose potentiation of IGF-II action would cease and whose susceptibility to degradation would be increased. This study therefore shows that IGFBP-6 plays a role in neuroblastoma cell growth in vivo and in vitro and that stable overexpression of IGFBP-6 leads to alteration of the initial balance between the IGFBPs.

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L Banaei-Bouchareb, M Peuchmaur, P Czernichow, and M Polak

We have previously shown that the human developing pancreas, as a tissue under construction and remodeling, is composed of epithelial ducts and differentiated endocrine cells surrounded by mesenchyme. The physiologic importance of resident tissue leukocytes, expected to enter through the mesenchyme in remodeling functions, prompted us to investigate human developing pancreases for the presence of leukocyte lineages and for expression of cytokines and receptors involved in their recruitment and differentiation. Immunohistochemistry studies were performed on 69 human, paraffin-embedded pancreases at 6–12 weeks of development (WD). Cytokines and receptor transcripts were monitored by reverse transcription (RT)–PCR, by immunohistochemistry when antibodies were available or by in situ hybridization (ISH). We show that numerous cells expressing CD45RA, HLADR and CD68 antigens are cellular components of the mesenchyme of all the pancreases at 6–12 WD. So-called constitutive chemokines (SLC (CCL19), stromal-derived factor 1 (SDF1) (CXCL12)) and a macrophage-specific growth/survival factor, colony-stimulating factor 1 (CSF1), were detected in epithelial duct cells. Both epithelial and mesenchymal cells expressed chemokine receptors, suggesting a role in leukocyte recruitment and possibly in early pancreatic development. In conclusion, we demonstrated the presence of CD45RA resident leukocyte-derived lineages, mostly macrophages, in the early human pancreatic mesenchyme. These cells may have migrated in the tissue through the vascular system, attracted by constitutively expressed chemokines, and locally surviving through CSF1 signaling. The role of macrophages in epithelium/mesenchyme interaction-mediated pancreatic development remains to be demonstrated.