Researchers have found that Activin i.e. a protein complex involved in repair of wounds and cell proliferation, can also lead to skin cancer.
This research has been by Sabine Werner from Department of Biology, Institute of Cell Biology, Zurich, Switzerland, and collaborators, and published online in December 6 issue of the journal Nature Communications.
Researchers worked on genetically engineered mice and found that the increased level of activin in the skin increases the formation of skin tumors and harmful advancement through initiation of a pro-tumorigenic environment. This initiation is resulted from buildup of tumor-promoting Langerhans cells and regulatory T-cells. Langerhans cells are immune cells, forming portion of the mammalian immune system, of the skin and mucosa. Moreover, activin also stops the proliferation of tumor-suppressive T-cells in the outer layer of the skin.
Maria Antsiferova, Marcel Huber, Michael Meyer, Aleksandra Piwko-Czuchra, Tamara Ramadan, Amanda S. MacLeod, Wendy L. Havran, Reinhard Dummer, Daniel Hohl & Sabine Werner, (2011). Activin enhances skin tumourigenesis and malignant progression by inducing a pro-tumourigenic immune cell response. Nature Communications, doi:10.1038/ncomms1585