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Arquivos Brasileiros de Endocrinologia & Metabologia

On-line version ISSN 1677-9487


MATSUO, Sílvia E. et al. Expression of SMAD proteins, TGF-beta/activin signaling mediators, in human thyroid tissues. Arq Bras Endocrinol Metab [online]. 2010, vol.54, n.4, pp.406-412. ISSN 1677-9487.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the expression of SMAD proteins in human thyroid tissues since the inactivation of TGF-β/activin signaling components is reported in several types of cancer. Phosphorylated SMAD 2 and SMAD3 (pSMAD2/3) associated with the SMAD4 induce the signal transduction generated by TGF-β and activin, while SMAD7 inhibits this intracellular signaling. Although TGF-β and activin exert antiproliferative roles in thyroid follicular cells, thyroid tumors express high levels of these proteins. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The protein expression of SMADs was evaluated in multinodular goiter, follicular adenoma, papillary and follicular carcinomas by immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: The expression of pSMAD2/3, SMAD4 and SMAD7 was observed in both benign and malignant thyroid tumors. Although pSMAD2/3, SMAD4 and SMAD7 exhibited high cytoplasmic staining in carcinomas, the nuclear staining of pSMAD2/3 was not different between benign and malignant lesions. CONCLUSIONS: The finding of SMADs expression in thyroid cells and the presence of pSMAD2/3 and SMAD4 proteins in the nucleus of tumor cells indicates propagation of TGF-β/activin signaling. However, the high expression of the inhibitory SMAD7, mostly in malignant tumors, could contribute to the attenuation of the SMADs antiproliferative signaling in thyroid carcinomas.

Keywords : SMAD2/3; SMAD4; SMAD7; thyroid cancer; TGF-β; activin.

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