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Histochem Cell Biol. 2002 Jan;117(1):13-9. Epub 2001 Dec 22.

Increased angiotensin II type-2 receptor density in hyperplasia, DCIS and invasive carcinoma of the breast is paralleled with increased iNOS expression.

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N. Goormaghtigh Institute of Pathology, University Hospital, De Pintelaan 185, 9000 Ghent, Belgium.


Binding of angiotensin II on the angiotensin II type-1 receptor induces cell growth, while triggering via the angiotensin II type-2 (AT(2)) receptor causes an opposing effect of growth inhibition and apoptosis. AT(2) receptor stimulation has also been shown to enhance inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression, an enzyme associated with cancer. To study the involvement of the angiotensin II receptors and iNOS in the carcinogenesis of human breast, we visualised both factors in tissues from patients with hyperplasia, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and invasive carcinoma using immunocytochemistry and in situ hybridisation. In normal ducts, levels for AT(2) protein and mRNA are low, but these are markedly increased in all pathological tissues. While in normal tissue both negative and positive ducts are found, the staining patterns in hyperplasia, DCIS and invasive carcinoma have a homogeneous positive appearance. Similarly, iNOS enzyme expression was very low in the ductal epithelium of normal tissues, but highly increased in all pathologies, with the highest expression found in hyperplastic ducts. Three human cell lines were assayed for the presence of AT(2) receptor. Normal HMec 1001-3 cells were weakly positive, but only one of the adenocarcinoma cell lines, designated SK-BR-3, was shown to express both AT(2) protein and its mRNA. We show that AT(2) receptor and iNOS overexpression are associated with breast disease, further confirming the involvement of the components of the renin-angiotensin system in the aetiology of breast cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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