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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the author’s final published version in PLoS Volume 11, Issue 3, March 2014, Article number e0151731.

The published version is available at DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0151731. Copyright © Public Library of Science


Sonic hedgehog (SHH) and its signaling have been identified in several human cancers, and increased levels of its expression appear to correlate with disease progression and metastasis. However, the role of SHH in bone destruction associated with oral squamous cell carcinomas is still unclear. In this study we analyzed SHH expression and the role played by SHH signaling in gingival carcinoma-induced jawbone destruction. From an analysis of surgically resected lower gingival squamous cell carcinoma mandible samples, we found that SHH was highly expressed in tumor cells that had invaded the bone matrix. On the other hand, the hedgehog receptor Patched and the signaling molecule Gli-2 were highly expressed in the osteoclasts and the progenitor cells. SHH stimulated osteoclast formation and pit formation in the presence of the receptor activator for nuclear factor-κB ligand (RANKL) in CD11b+ mouse bone marrow cells. SHH upregulated phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and p38 MAPK, NFATc1, tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP), and Cathepsin K expression in RAW264.7 cells. Our results suggest that tumor-derived SHH stimulated the osteoclast formation and bone resorption in the tumor jawbone microenvironment.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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