Interleukin (IL)-22 is a member of the IL-10 family. Its main targets are epithelial cells, not immune cells. We examined IL-22 signal transduction in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) cells. Immunohistochemical staining revealed that IL-22R was expressed more highly in OSCC compared to normal regions. An IL-22R signal was also observed in metastatic OSCC cells in the lymph node. RT-PCR showed that the human OSCC cell lines MISK81-5, HSC-3, HSC-4, SAS and SQUU-B expressed IL-22 receptor chains. Immunoblotting showed that IL-22 induced a transient tyrosine phosphorylation of STAT3 (pY705-STAT3) in MISK81-5 cells. The change in the serine phosphorylation of STAT3 was subtle during the examination periods. Simultaneously, pY705-STAT3 activation in HSC-3 cells was undetectable after IL-22 stimulation. Immunocytochemistry demonstrated that IL-22 induced the translocation of phosphorylated STAT3 into the nucleus of MISK81-5 cells. IL-22 temporarily upregulated the expression of anti-apoptotic and mitogenic genes such as Bcl-x, survivin and c-Myc, as well as SOCS3. IL-22 transiently activated ERK1/2 and induced a delayed phosphorylation of p38 MAP kinase, but negligibly involved the activation of NF-κB in MISK81-5 cells. MISK81-5 and SQUU-B cells treated with IL-22 showed mild cellular proliferation. MISK81-5, HSC-4 and SAS cells treated with IL-22 downregulated the keratinocyte differentiation-related genes compared with unstimulated cells. Conversely, STAT3 suppression by STAT3 siRNA strongly disrupted the downregulation of these genes by IL-22, but it did not significantly affect the activation of ERK1/2 by IL-22. The OSCC cells used in this study upregulated the expression of SERPINB3/4 (SCCA1/2), well-known SCC markers, following treatment with IL-22. These results indicate that IL-22 differentially activates the STAT3 signaling system depending on the type of OSCC. IL-22 may therefore play a role in tumor growth, cell differentiation and progression through STAT3-dependent and -independent pathways.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research