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The Myofibroblast Is the Predominant Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor-1-Expressing Cell Type in Human Breast Carcinomas

American Society for Investigative Pathology
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The tumor level of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) is an informative biochemical marker of a poor prognosis in several cancer types. However, the tumor biological functions of PAI-1 and the identity of PAI-1-expressing cells are controversial. With the aim of immunohistochemically localizing PAI-1 in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded invasive ductal breast carcinoma samples, we raised new polyclonal antibodies against PAI-1 from different expression systems. The antibodies were affinity purified by absorption on immobilized preparations of PAI-1 different from those used for immunization. The specificity of the antibodies was ensured by immunoblotting analysis. In immunohistochemistry, the staining pattern obtained with the antibodies showed a good correlation with the PAI-1 mRNA expression pattern. In all 25 cases analyzed, PAI-1 immunoreactivity was predominantly localized in fibroblast-like cells. Double-immunofluorescence analyses showed co-expression of PAI-1 and α-smooth muscle actin in these cells, suggesting that they are myofibroblasts. PAI-1 was also seen in some myoepithelial cells surrounding occasional foci of ductal carcinoma in situ (9 of 25), some endothelial cells (8 of 25), some cancer cells (3 of 25), and some mast cells (6 of 25). In conclusion, we have provided a robust immunohistochemical procedure for detection of PAI-1 and shown that the majority of the PAI-1-expressing cells in invasive ductal breast carcinomas are myofibroblasts.

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