S100A4 is a member of the EF-hand family of calcium-binding proteins, first identified in tumor cells, and implicated in tumor invasion and metastasis. Intracellular upregulation of S100A4 is associated with increased motility of tumor cells. Extracellular application of S100A4 increases the motility of glioma cells in vitro. We showed previously that astrocytes in spinal cord and
brain white matter also express S100A4. This expression is markedly increased in reactive white matter astrocytes after injury. Here, we have explored how changes in intracellular S100A4 affect migration of astrocytes. We produced cultures of white matter, S100A4 expressing astrocytes, and developed a small interfering (si) RNA approach to specifically eliminate S100A4 expression in these cells, and compared the migration of astrocytes expressing S100A4 with astrocytes transfected with S100A4 siRNA. As a "positive control" we used S100A4 expressing C6 glioma cells. In contrast to malignant cells, S100A4 expressing
astrocytes increased their migration capacity after S100A4 siRNA treatment. At the same time, and in parallel with increased migration, white matter astrocytes increased their expression of metalloproteinases MMP-9 and MT1-MMP. The addition of MMP-2/MMP-9 inhibitor resulted in a significant inhibition of migration in
S100A4 siRNA-treated astrocytes. These findings indicate that S100A4 has a stabilizing function in reactive white matter astrocytes, a function that may contribute to the development of a rigid, growth-inhibitory glial scar.
2006. Vol. 53, no 3, 313-321 p.