TRAIL death pathway expression and induction in thyroid follicular cells

James D. Bretz, Michal Rymaszewski, Patricia L. Arscott, Andrzej Myc, Kenneth B. Ain, Norman W. Thompson, James R. Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


To determine whether programmed cell death in thyroid follicular cells can be related to activation of the tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis- inducing ligand (TRAIL) pathway, we examined the expression and function of this pathway in primary thyroid follicular cells and a papillary thyroid carcinoma cell line in vitro. Despite the expression of TRAIL receptors death receptor 4 and death receptor 5, purified TRAIL could not induce programmed cell death (PCD) in any of the thyroid follicular cells examined. However, pre-incubation with cycloheximide before TRAIL facilitated the induction of rapid and massive PCD. This suggested that despite the presence of a labile inhibitor of the TRAIL pathway, TRAIL could mediate PCD under appropriate conditions. To determine whether there were sources of TRAIL in the thyroid that could interact with thyroid follicular cell TRAIL receptors, RNase protection assays were used to determine TRAIL mRNA expression. TRAIL message was expressed in intrathyroidal lymphocytes isolated from a patient with thyroiditis, and unexpectedly, thyroid follicular cells themselves could be induced to express abundant TRAIL message in the presence of the inflammatory cytokines interferon γ, tumor necrosis factor α, and interleukin 1β. Furthermore, the papillary thyroid carcinoma cell line could be induced to kill the TRAIL-sensitive lymphoma cell line BJAB through a TRAIL-dependent mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23627-23632
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number33
StatePublished - Aug 13 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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