Tomas Mitkus

Universität Heidelberg, Heidelburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

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Publications (3)21.6 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Pancreatic cancer (PaCa) is a fatal human cancer due to its exceptional resistance to all current anticancer therapies. The cytoprotective enzyme heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) is significantly overexpressed in PaCa and seems to play an important role in cancer resistance to anticancer treatment. The inhibition of HO-1 sensitized PaCa cells to chemo- and radiotherapy in vitro. Therefore, we investigated the effects of HO-1 and its metabolites biliverdin, carbon monoxide and iron on PaCa cells. PaCa cell lines with divergent HO-1 expression patterns were used in a murine orthotopic cancer model. HO-1 expression and activity was regulated by zinc (inhibition) and cobalt (induction) protoporphyrin. Furthermore, the influence of cellular HO-1 levels and its metabolites on effects of standard chemotherapy with gemcitabine was tested in vivo and in vitro. High HO-1 expression in PaCa cell lines was associated with increased chemoresistance in vitro. Chemoresistance to gemcitabine was increased during HO-1 induction in PaCa cells expressing low levels of HO-1. The inhibition of HO-1 activity in pancreatic tumors with high HO-1 boosted chemotherapeutic effects in vivo significantly. Furthermore, biliverdin and iron promoted PaCa resistance to chemotherapy. Consequently, specific iron chelation by desferrioxamine revealed profound anticancerous effects. In summary, the inhibition of HO-1 and the chelation of iron in PaCa cells were associated with increased sensitivity and susceptibility of pancreatic tumors to chemotherapy in vivo. The metabolites biliverdin and iron seem to be involved in HO-1-mediated resistance to anticancer treatment. Therefore, HO-1 inhibition or direct interference with its metabolites may evolve new PaCa treatment strategies.
    Molecular Cancer 07/2009; 8:37. · 5.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although it is recognized that neurogenic influences contribute to progression of chronic inflammatory diseases, the molecular basis of neuroimmune interactions in the pathogenesis of chronic pancreatitis (CP) is not well defined. Here we report that responsiveness of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) to the neuropeptide pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) is altered in CP. Expression of PACAP and its receptors in human CP was analyzed with quantitative RT-PCR, laser-capture microdissection, and immunohistochemistry. Regulation of PACAP expression was studied in coculture systems using macrophages and acinar cells. Responsiveness of donor and CP PBMC to PACAP was determined based on cytokine profiles and NF-kappaB activation of LPS- or LPS+PACAP-exposed cells. Although donor and CP PBMC responded equally to LPS, PACAP-mediated counteraction of LPS-induced cytokine response was switched from inhibiting TNF-alpha to decreasing IL-1beta and increasing IL-10 secretion. The change of PACAP-mediated anti-inflammatory pattern was associated with altered activation of NF-kappaB: compared with LPS alone, a combination of LPS and PACAP had no effect on NF-kappaB p65 nuclear translocation in CP PBMC, whereas NF-kappaB was significantly decreased in donor PBMC. According to laser-capture microdissection and coculture experiments, PBMC also contributed to generation of a PACAP-rich intrapancreatic environment by upregulating PACAP expression in macrophages encountering apoptotic pancreatic acini. The nociceptive status of CP patients correlated with pancreatic PACAP levels and with IL-10 bias of PACAP-exposed CP PBMC. Thus the ability of PBMC to produce and to respond to PACAP might influence neuroimmune interactions that regulate pain and inflammation in CP.
    AJP Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology 02/2008; 294(1):G50-7. · 3.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pancreatic cancer creates desmoplasia by stimulating stellate cells (PSCs), thereby influencing tumor aggressiveness. The aim of this study was to analyze the impact of the PSC-specific matrix protein periostin on tumor responses to radiochemotherapy. PSCs and cancer cells in primary and metastatic lesions of patients treated with or without neoadjuvant radiochemotherapy were evaluated by immunohistochemistry. Periostin messenger-RNA levels determined by quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction were correlated to patient survival. Interactions between PSCs and cancer cells and the effects of periostin in modulating cellular responses under conditions of hypoxia, starvation, and radiochemotherapy were assessed by immunoblotting and by growth, clonogenicity, and invasion assays. Periostin messenger-RNA levels were elevated 42-fold in cancer, and patients with increased expression had a tendency toward shorter survival (19 vs 12 months; P = .14). Stromal cells were the only source of periostin in the pancreas and in metastatic sites. Cancer cell supernatants stimulated periostin secretion from PSCs. Recombinant periostin increased alpha-smooth muscle actin, periostin, collagen-1, fibronectin, and transforming growth factor-beta1 expression while decreasing PSC invasiveness. These effects were reversed by silencing periostin expression and secretion by small interfering RNA transfection. In cancer cells, periostin stimulated growth and conferred resistance to starvation and hypoxia. In addition, the periostin downstream target collagen-1 significantly increased chemoresistance. Once stimulated by cancer cells, PSCs remain active via an autocrine periostin loop even under radiotherapy and produce excessive extracellular matrix proteins, creating a tumor-supportive microenvironment. Increased periostin expression may therefore reflect a more aggressive tumor phenotype.
    Gastroenterology 04/2007; 132(4):1447-64. · 12.82 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

146 Citations
21.60 Total Impact Points


  • 2008–2009
    • Universität Heidelberg
      • • Department of Spine Surgery
      • • Institute of Pathology (Mannheim)
      Heidelburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany