E-cadherin promoter hypermethylation may contribute to protein inactivation in pterygia

Chi Hsien Young, Yu Te Chiu, Tung Sheng Shih, Wan Ru Lin, Chun Chi Chiang, Ying Erh Chou, Ya Wen Cheng, Yi Yu Tsai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Our recent reports indicated that the molecular changes of pterygia are similar to tumor cells. We believe that pterygia may have a similar mechanism in oncogenesis. Many studies have revealed that E-cadherin associated protein expression decreases in many tumors and pterygia. E-cadherin may be a marker for both tumor metastasis and prognosis. However, no studies have examined the reason for E-cadherin protein inactivation in pterygia. Therefore, this study aimed to analyze the association of E-cadherin promoter hypermethylation with protein inactivation in pterygial tissues. Methods: E-cadherin methylation-status and the expression of E-cadherin and β-catenin protein were studied using methylation-specific PCR and immunohistochemistry, respectively, on 120 pterygial specimens and 30 normal conjunctivas. Results: Hypermethylation of E-cadherin gene promoter was detected in 32 (26.7%) of the 120 pterygial specimens. A total of 79 (65.8%) pterygial specimens tested positive for E-cadherin protein expression and 41 (34.2%) specimens tested negative. The E-cadherin staining was limited to the membrane of the epithelial layer. There was a reverse correlation between E-cadherin gene promoter hypermethylation and E-cadherin protein expression (p<0.0001). Aberrant localization of β-catenin was higher in the E-cadherin negative group than in E-cadherin positive group. Conclusions: Our study demonstrates E-cadherin gene promoter hypermethylation were associated with low or absent expression of E-cadherin. Moreover, loss of E-cadherin protein may contribute to aberrant localization of β-catenin. These data provide evidence that methylation exists in pterygia and may play a role in their development. © 2010 Molecular Vision.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1047-1053
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular Vision
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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