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Am J Pathol. 2000 Feb;156(2):509-18.

Neutrophils, nitric oxide synthase, and mutations in the mutatect murine tumor model.

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Ottawa Regional Cancer Centre, Ottawa. University of Ottawa, Ottawa. Ontario, Canada.


Mutatect MN-11 is a tumor line that can be grown subcutaneously in syngeneic C57BL/6 mice. The frequency of spontaneously arising mutants at the hypoxanthine phosphoribosyltransferase (Hprt) locus was observed to be elevated as a result of in vivo growth. The objective of the present study was to identify factors in the tumor microenvironment that might explain this increase in mutant frequency (MF). When tumors were examined histologically, neutrophils were found to be the predominant infiltrating cell type. Quantitative estimates of the number of neutrophils and MF of tumors in different animals revealed a statistically significant correlation (r = 0.63, P < 0.0001). Immunohistochemical analysis for inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) demonstrated its presence, mainly in neutrophils. Biochemical analysis of tumor homogenates for nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity indicated a statistically significant correlation with MF (r = 0.77, P < 0.0001). Nitrotyrosine was detected throughout the tumor immunohistochemically; both cytoplasmic and nuclear staining was seen. To increase the number of infiltrating neutrophils, tumors were injected with chemoattractant interleukin-8 and prostaglandin E2. This produced a statistically significant increase in neutrophil content (P = 0.005) and MF (P = 0.0002). As in control MN-11 tumors, neutrophil content and MF were strongly correlated (r = 0.63, P = 0. 003). Because neutrophils are a potential source of genotoxic reactive oxygen and/or nitrogen species, our results support the notion that these tumor-infiltrating cells may be mutagenic and contribute to the burden of genetic abnormalities associated with tumor progression.

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