Regulation of airway neurogenic inflammation by neutral endopeptidase.
Constitutive, unregulated autocrine growth is thought to be an important mechanism whereby cancer cells gain a proliferative advantage over nonmalignant cells. The question addressed here was whether the autocrine growth system for gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP) in human small cell lung carcinoma cells is, in fact, always expressed in a constitutive, unregulated fashion. Lag, rapid, and plateau growth states were defined for small cell lung carcinoma NCI-H345 cells based on periods during which they expressed different growth rates after plating as single cell suspensions. Immunoreactive GRP in the conditioned medium and in NCI-H345 cells harvested during each of these growth states, as well as cell DNA content, GRP mRNA expression, specific 125I-GRP uptake, specific 125I-GRP binding to solubilized membranes, and GRP and neuromedin B receptor mRNA expression by reverse transcription-PCR were analyzed. Maximal levels of GRP expression were observed during the lag growth state, with the highest concentration of immunoreactive GRP in the conditioned medium during the rapid growth state. Specific 125I-GRP uptake and binding were also highest during the lag growth state; however, GRP receptor mRNA did not significantly change. In contrast to prevailing concepts, these studies support the conclusion that the expression of the GRP autocrine growth system in NCI-H345 cells is indeed regulated. Furthermore, the components are maximally expressed before rapid growth begins, suggesting that other mechanisms are activated to support the actual proliferation.