Hyaluronic acid (HA), a glycosaminoglycan, regulates cell adhesion and migration. Hyaluronidase (HAase), an endoglycosidase, degrades HA into small angiogenic fragments. Using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay-like assay, we found increased HA levels (3-8-fold) in prostate cancer (CaP) tissues when compared with normal (NAP) and benign (BPH) tissues. The majority (∼75-80%) of HA in prostate tissues was found to exist in the free form. Primary CaP fibroblast and epithelial cells secreted 3-8-fold more HA than respective NAP and BPH cultures. Only CaP epithelial cells and established CaP lines secreted HAase and the secretion increased with tumor grade and metastasis. The pH activity profile and optimum (4.2; range 4.0-4.3) of CaP HAase was identical to the HYAL1-type HAase present in human serum and urine. Full-length HYAL1 transcript and splice variants were detected in CaP cells by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, cloning, and sequencing. Immunoblotting confirmed secretion of a ∼60-kDa HYAL1-related protein by CaP cells. Immunohistochemistry showed minimal HA and HYAL1 staining in NAP and BPH tissues. However, a stromal and epithelial pattern of HA and HYAL1 expression was observed in CaP tissues. While high HA staining was observed in tumor-associated stroma, HYAL1 staining in tumor cells increased with tumor grade and metastasis. The gel-filtration column profiles of HA species in NAP, BPH, and CaP tissues were different. While the higher molecular mass and intermediate size HA was found in all tissues, the HA fragments were found only in CaP tissues. In particular, the high-grade CaP tissues, which showed both elevated HA and HYAL1 levels, contained angiogenic HA fragments. The stromal-epithelial HA and HYAL1 expression may promote angiogenesis in CaP and may serve as prognostic markers for CaP.
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