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Cancer Res. 2000 Nov 1;60(21):6189-95.

Coordinate up-regulation of hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)-1alpha and HIF-1 target genes during multi-stage epidermal carcinogenesis and wound healing.

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Cutaneous Oncology Program, University of California-San Francisco Comprehensive Cancer Center, 94143-1674, USA.


Both carcinogenesis and wound healing proceed through stages of proliferation and tissue remodeling. Here, using either a model of multistage epidermal carcinogenesis in K14-HPV16 transgenic mice or creation of full-thickness back wounds in nontransgenic mice, we determined patterns of expression of hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)-1alpha, and three targets of the heterodimeric transcription factor HIF-1, glucose transporter (GLUT)-1, phosphoglycerate kinase (PGK)-1, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in skin. Neither HIF-1alpha, GLUT-1, PGK-1, nor VEGF mRNA was detectable in unwounded nontransgenic skin. In epidermal carcinogenesis, HIF-1alpha, GLUT-1, PGK-1, and VEGF mRNAs were just detectable in early-stage hyperplasia, markedly increased in high-grade epidermal chest dysplasias, and further increased in invasive squamous carcinomas. In neoplastic skin, HIF-1alpha, GLUT-1, and PGK-1 mRNAs localized in the basal and immediate suprabasal epidermal layers, whereas VEGF mRNA was predominantly expressed in the more superior spinous and granular epidermal layers. Immediately after wounding, HIF-1alpha, GLUT-1, and PGK-1 mRNAs were detectable in basal keratinocytes at the wound edge. Expression of all three genes increased to maximum levels in reepithelializing basal keratinocytes and then diminished to near undetectable levels after wound epithelialization. Although VEGF mRNA similarly increased and decreased during wound healing, its expression pattern was more punctate; the most intense hybridization signals were detected in the upper spinous and granular layers of reepithelializing keratinocytes and in dermal cells morphologically similar to macrophages. These data suggest stage-specific and spatio-temporal control of HIF-1alpha and HIF-1 target gene expression in both multistage epithelial carcinogenesis and wound healing.

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