The interleukin-21 (IL-21) protein was found to be expressed at an elevated level in clinical samples of colorectal cancer patients without or with a parasitic infection that were collected from Sudan in our previous study. The IL-21 gene in HT29 and HCT116 cells was then correlated to cell proliferation and cell migration, as well as the cellular mechanisms associated with gene expressions in our present study. Our results demonstrated that silencing the IL-21 gene in HCT116 cells increased the cytotoxic level and fibroblast growth factor-4 (FGF4) mRNA expression in the cancer cells. Moreover, specific gene silencing reduced the migration of cancer cells compared to non-silenced cancer cells. These events were not observed in IL-21-silenced HT29 cells. Neutralizing FGF4 in conditioned medium of IL-21-silenced HCT116 cells further increased the cytotoxic level and restored the migratory activity of HCT116 cells in the culture compared to silencing the IL-21 gene alone in the cancer cells. Our results indicate the importance of both silencing the IL-21 gene and co-expression of the FGF4 protein in HCT116 cells, which pave the way for the discovery of important factors to be used as biomarkers for the design of drugs or cost-effective supplements to effectively treat the patients having infectious disease and HCT116 cells of colorectal cancer simultaneously in the future.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.