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Carcinogenesis. 1999 Aug;20(8):1583-90.

Altered bcl-2 family expression during non-genotoxic hepatocarcinogenesis in mice.

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Chemical Industry Institute of Toxicology, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA.


Dysregulation of apoptosis is an important component of multistage hepatocarcinogenesis. Members of the bcl-2 protein family are important in the regulation of apoptosis and their expression is altered in several cancers. The objectives of the present study were to determine whether the expression of members of the bcl-2 protein family are altered in mouse liver during acute treatment with non-genotoxic carcinogens and throughout non-genotoxic hepatocarcinogenesis. Acute treatment of B6C3F1 mice with phenobarbital resulted in increased levels of bcl-2 and decreased levels of bax protein, while acute treatment with WY-14,643 resulted in increased bcl-2 and BAG-1 protein in the liver. Following chronic treatment, altered hepatic foci and adenomas were classified as: small-cell, heterogeneous basophilic lesions (spontaneous or tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin-induced); large-cell, homogeneous basophilic lesions (WY-14,643-induced); acidophilic lesions (phenobarbital- or chlordane-induced). Of the small-cell heterogeneous basophilic lesions, 86% of foci (31/36) and 85% of adenomas (35/41) exhibited increased bcl-2 protein levels compared with surrounding normal hepatocytes, whereas only 12.5% of foci (4/36) and 12% of adenomas (5/41) exhibited increased bcl-X(L) levels. Of the large-cell, homogenous, basophilic lesions, 100% of foci (3/3) and 90% of adenomas (9/10) expressed bcl-2 protein, whereas 100% of foci (3/3) and 80% of adenomas (8/10) exhibited increased bcl-X(L) protein levels compared with surrounding normal hepatocytes. Of the acidophilic lesions, the majority of foci (28/32, 88%) and adenomas (47/50, 94%) expressed increased bcl-X(L), whereas increased bcl-2 was observed in only 12.5% of acidophilic preneoplastic foci (4/32) and 14% of acidophilic adenomas (7/50). Of the carcinomas analyzed, 81% expressed increased bcl-2 (54/67), 78% expressed increased bcl-X(L) (52/67) and 69% expressed increased levels of both bcl-2 and bcl-X(L) (46/67). Collectively, only 8% of preneoplastic foci, 3% of adenomas and 1.5% of carcinomas did not express either bcl-2 or bcl-X(L). These results suggest that regulation of apoptotic proteins is altered during non-genotoxic carcinogenesis in mouse liver. Furthermore, there were both chemical- and lesion-specific aspects of expression of apoptotic proteins during hepatocarcinogenesis in mice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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