Sodium iodide symporter (NIS) plays a key role in thyroid hormone production by efficiently accumulating iodide from the circulating blood into the thyocytes, and this is done against an electrochemical gradient. Thyroid transcription factor-l (TTF-l) is a homeodomain-containing protein expressed in embryonic diencephalons, thyroid, and lung and has been found to bind to thyroid specific promoters and to activate their transcriptional activity. TTF-l may be one of the factors capable of activating NIS gene expression in the thyroid gland, thus it accounts for the lower levels of NIS gene expression that are seen in the extrathyroidal tissues. However, a high frequency of TTF-l expression has been observed, especially in primary lung adenocarcinoma. The present study was undertaken in order to elucidate the relationship between the expression of NIS and TTF-l in primary lung adenocarcinoma. Immunohistochemical studies for NIS and TTF-l were performed in 64 primary lung adenocarcinomas. Immunoreactivities for NIS and TTF-l were found in 49 (76.6%) and 45 (70.3%) out of 64 cases, respectively. Forty-one (83.7%) of the 49 cases with positive NIS immunoreactivity showed positive TTF-l expression, whereas 11 (73.3%) of the 15 cases with negative NIS immunoreactivity showed negative TTF-l expression (P<0.05). So the NIS expression was significantly associated with the TTF-l expression. These findings suggest that TTF-l may be one of the factors capable of activating NIS gene expression in primary lung adenocarcinoma. Further studies are needed to define the relation between NIS and TTF-l for examining the mechanisms of tissue-specific NIS expression.
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