Mimicking the tumor microenvironment: Fibroblasts reduce miR-29b expression and increase the motility of ovarian cancer cells in a co-culture model

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Medeiros, Mariana [UNESP]
Ribeiro, Amanda Oliveira [UNESP]
Lupi, Luiz Antônio [UNESP]
Romualdo, Guilherme Ribeiro [UNESP]
Pinhal, Danillo [UNESP]
Chuffa, Luiz Gustavo de Almeida [UNESP]
Delella, Flávia Karina [UNESP]
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Ovarian cancer (OC) is a highly prevalent gynecological malignancy worldwide. Throughout ovarian carcinogenesis, the crosstalk between cellular components of the microenvironment, including tumor cells and fibroblasts, is proposed to play critical roles in cancer progression. The dysregulation of microRNA expression is also a pronounced feature of the OC. The screening of microRNAs, mainly those involved in OC microenvironment, could have diagnostic and/or therapeutic potential for this malignancy. Thus, we assessed the influence of fibroblasts on microRNA expression and the motility of OC cells. To achieve this goal, SKOV-3 cancer cells were co-cultured with human normal fibroblasts derived from primary culture (FP-96). Cell viability, expression of tumor suppressor microRNAs and oncomiRs by RT-qPCR, cell migration by wound healing assay and analysis of MMP-2 activity by zymography were performed in SKOV-3 cells. Moreover, α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) expression was evaluated by Western blot in FP-96 fibroblasts. Notably, the co-culture downregulated the tumor suppressor miR-29b and increased migration of SKOV-3 cells. In addition, co-culture increased the activity of MMP-2, which is a miR-29 target, and accounted for extracellular matrix remodeling and augmented cellular motility. Concomitantly, the co-culture system induced α-SMA expression in FP-96 fibroblasts, the commonly expressed marker in cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs). Our findings suggest that the potential crosstalk between OC cells and fibroblasts in tumor microenvironment may play a key role in the progression of OC.
CAF, Cell motility, Co-culture, MicroRNA, Ovarian cancer, SKOV-3 cells
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Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, v. 516, n. 1, p. 96-101, 2019.