• Open Access

Pivotal roles of shear stress in the microenvironmental changes that occur within sentinel lymph nodes


To whom correspondence should be addressed.

E-mail: ohhashi@shinshu-u.ac.jp


A sentinel lymph node (SLN) is the first lymph node that receives drainage from a primary tumor. According to their physiological and biomechanical characteristics, we hypothesized that SLN contains lymphatic endothelial cells (LEC) that are constantly loaded with high levels of shear stress, which might contribute to the production of a suitable environment for micrometastasis within them. To test this hypothesis, we investigated the effects of shear stress stimulation on the expression of adhesion molecules on human LEC isolated from the lymph vessels nearest the SLN of breast cancers, and on the release of ATP from human LEC. The study clarified that the shear stress stimulation produced a significant increase of ICAM-1 expression at protein and mRNA levels in human LEC. Next, we examined whether the shear stress-mediated increase of ICAM-1 expression accelerates the attachment of carcinoma cells to human LEC. Finally, in in vivo experiments, we evaluated whether exogenous ATP facilitates the expression of carcinoma cell-ligated adhesion molecules in rat SLN. In conclusion, shear stress stimulation induces ICAM-1 expression on human LEC by activating cell surface F1/FO ATP synthase, which might contribute to the development of a premetastatic environment within SLN. (Cancer Sci 2012; 103: 1245–1252)