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Cancer Res. 2004 Feb 1;64(3):962-8.

Bacteria-induced intestinal cancer in mice with disrupted Gpx1 and Gpx2 genes.

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  • 1Department of Medical Oncology and Therapeutics Research, City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Duarte, California, USA. fchu@coh.org


Two glutathione peroxidase (GPX) isozymes, GPX-1 and GPX-2 (GPX-GI), are the major enzymes that reduce hydroperoxides in intestinal epithelium. We have previously demonstrated that targeted disruption of both the Gpx1 and Gpx2 genes (GPX-DKO) results in a high incidence of ileocolitis in mice raised under conventional conditions, which include the harboring of Helicobacter species [non-specific-pathogen-free (non-SPF) conditions]. In this study, we have characterized GPX-DKO mice that have microflora-associated intestinal cancers, which are correlated with increased intestinal pathology/inflammation. We found that GPX-DKO mice raised under germ-free conditions have virtually no pathology or tumors. After colonizing germ-free mice with commensal microflora without any known pathogens (SPF), <9% of GPX-DKO mice develop tumors in the ileum or the colon. However, about one-fourth of GPX-DKO mice raised under non-SPF conditions from birth or transferred from SPF conditions at weaning have predominantly ileal tumors. Nearly 30% of tumors are cancerous; most are invasive adenocarcinomas and a few signet-ring cell carcinomas. On the basis of these results, we conclude that GPX-DKO mice are highly susceptible to bacteria-associated inflammation and cancer. The sensitivity exhibited in these mice suggests that peroxidative stress plays an important role in ileal and colonic pathology and inflammation, which can lead to tumorigenesis.

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