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Environ Health Perspect. 1990 Aug; 88: 77–82.
PMCID: PMC1568021
Research Article

Genetic modulation of the cellular antioxidant defense capacity.


Oxidants are ubiquitous in our aerobic environment. While they are always toxic, they can also exert pathophysiological effects at low concentrations and play an etiological role in human disease. For example, oxidants can stimulate cell growth and act as tumor promoters. The cellular antioxidant defense system attenuates the effect of oxidants and consists of low molecular weight components and several enzymes. Most important are catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutases (SOD), and glutathione peroxidase. We are attempting to elucidate the role of CAT and Cu,Zn-SOD in oxidant tumor promotion of mouse epidermal cells JB6. We have found that the promotable clone 41 possesses 2- to 3-fold higher levels of activity, protein, and stationary mRNA of CAT and Cu,Zn-SOD than does the nonpromotable clone 30. We propose that the growth-stimulatory effect of oxidants is more pronounced in promotable clone 41 because it is better protected from oxidant toxicity. In order to corroborate this model, we have constructed JB6 cells with higher levels of Cu,Zn-SOD and CAT by transfection with expression vectors containing cDNA for these genes. On the other hand, cells with decreased amounts of Cu,Zn-SOD have been obtained by their stable transfection with a vector containing SOD-cDNA in the antisense orientation. These cell clones with modified antioxidant enzyme complements are being characterized. In particular, their promotability by oxidants and their sensitivity to killing and oxidative macromolecular damage are being measured. Certain tumor promoters that lack oxidizing properties may generate a cellular prooxidant state by a variety of mechanisms.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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Selected References

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