Mechanism of muscle protein degradation in Cancer Cachexia
A protein-mobilising factor of estimated molecular weight 24 KDa (p24) was purified both from the cachexia-inducing MAC 16 tumour and the urine of cachectic cancer patients by a combination of ammonium sulphate precipitation and affinity chromatography using a monoclonal antibody developed against the murine material. Administration of p24 to non tumour-bearing mice caused a decrease in body weight 24 h after the first injection, which was attenuated by prior treatment with the monoclonal antibody. Loss of body weight was accompanied by an accelerated loss of skeletal muscle protein, as determined by the release of tyrosine from this tissue. This was associated with an increased release of PGE2 and both protein degradation and PGE2 release were attenuated by the monoclonal antibody. Loss of protein mass arose from both a decrease in the rate of protein synthesis and an elevation of protein breakdown; the latter due to an activation of the ubiquitin-proteasome proteolytic system. In isolated muscle, p24 was capable of promoting protein breakdown and this was also associated with increased PGE2 levels. Both tyrosine and PGE2 release, were inhibited by PGE2 inhibitors and a specific inhibitor of cPLA2. When added to muscle cells in culture, p24 caused an elevation in the rates of total and myofibrillar protein breakdown and a depression in the rate of protein synthesis which was inhabitable by short-term incubation in insulin, suggesting that p24 may inhibit protein synthesis by causing an arrest in the translational process.