Zhonghua Nei Ke Za Zhi. 2022 Nov 1;61(11):1228-1233. doi: 10.3760/cma.j.cn112138-20220502-00334.
Objective: To investigate the expression of Macrophage migration-inhibitory factors (MIF) in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tissues and its interaction with ERK1/2 signaling pathway, so as to establish a theoretical basis for further studying the molecular mechanism of MIF promoting HCC. Methods: From February 2020 to August 2021, 52 cases of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tissues based on hepatitis B cirrhosis (HBV-LC) and 52 cases of adjacent tissues in Tianjin Medical University Cancer Hospital and 940th Hospital of Joint Logistic Support Force of PLA were collected as the experimental group, including 39 males and 13 females, aged 35-65 years. And 20 cases of normal liver tissue were selected as the control group. Immunohistochemistry was used to detect the expression of MIF, ERK1/2 and p-ERK1/2 proteins in liver tissues of the two groups, and in situ hybridization was used to detect the expression of ERK1/2 nucleic acid in liver tissues of the two groups.HepG2 HCC cells and L-02 normal hepatocytes were co-cultured with different concentrations of rMIF, the expression and phosphorylation levels of ERK1/2 and JNK1 proteins in the two kinds of liver cells were detected by Western-blot, and the expression levels of ERK1/2 nucleic acids in the two kinds of liver cells were detected by RT-PCR. One-way ANOVA was used for measurement data and χ2 test was used for counting data. Results: The expressions of MIF, ERK1/2, p-ERK1/2 and ERK1/2 mRNA were significantly increased in HCC and para-cancer tissues (the expression of MIF in HCC group was 78.8%, and that in adjacent group was 75.0%; ERK1/2 80.8% in HCC group and ERK1/2 71.8% in paracancerous group. The expression of p-ERK1/2 75.0 % in HCC group and 46.2% in paracancerous group were respectively detected. ERK1/2 mRNA was expressed in HCC group 76.9%, ERK1/2 mRNA expression in paracancerous group 78.8%), and the differences were statistically significant compared with normal liver tissues (P<0.05), but there was no significant difference between HCC and para-cancer tissues (P>0.05). The expressions of ERK1/2, p-ERK1/2 and ERK1/2 mRNA in HepG2 HCC cells were significantly increased with the increase of rMIF concentration, and the increase was most obvious when rMIF concentration was 200 ng/ml, and the difference was statistically significant compared with L-02 normal hepatocytes (P<0.05). Conclusion: MIF, ERK1/2 and p-ERK1/2 are highly expressed in HCC tissues and HepG2 HCC cells, suggesting that MIF promotes the occurrence and development of hepatocellular carcinoma through ERK1/2 signaling pathway.