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Am J Pathol. 2005 Jan;166(1):117-26.

Overexpression of protein kinase C-{epsilon} in the mouse epidermis leads to a spontaneous myeloproliferative-like disease.

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Department of Human Oncology, Medical School, University of Wisconsin, K4/532 CSC Clinical Science Center, 600 Highland Ave., Madison, WI 53792, USA.


Protein kinase C (PKC)-epsilon, a Ca(2+)-independent, phospholipid-dependent serine/threonine kinase, is among the PKC isoforms expressed in mouse epidermis. We reported that FVB/N transgenic mouse lines that overexpress (8- or 18-fold) PKC-epsilon protein in basal epidermal cells and cells of the hair follicle develop papilloma-independent squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) elicited by 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene initiation and 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate-promotion or by repeated ultraviolet radiation exposures. The susceptibility to the development of SCC was proportional to the level of expression of the PKC-epsilon transgene. We now report that PKC-epsilon FVB/N transgenic mice (line 215) that overexpress in epidermis approximately 18-fold PKC-epsilon protein more than their wild-type littermates spontaneously develop a myeloproliferative-like disease (MPD) in 100% of PKC-epsilon transgenic mice. The MPD was characterized by an excess of neutrophils and eosinophils, resulting in invasion of almost all vital organs of the mouse by 6 months of age. On gross examination these mice present with splenomegaly, hepatomegaly, and severe lymphadenopathy. Examination of the bone marrow revealed almost complete effacement by neutrophils, eosinophils, and their precursors. Furthermore, the spleen and lymph nodes were enlarged and exhibited marked extramedullary hematopoiesis. Complete pathological analysis of the second PKC-epsilon transgenic mouse (line 224) that expresses approximately eightfold PKC-epsilon protein more than their wild-type littermates revealed no remarkable findings in any of the affected organs as seen in line 215. However, peripheral blood analyses of PKC-epsilon transgenic mice indicated significant increases of neutrophils in the circulating blood in both PKC-epsilon transgenic lines. To determine whether there was an imbalance of cytokines in PKC-epsilon transgenic mice (line 215), resulting in aberrant myelopoiesis, we analyzed 17 cytokines in the peripheral blood. This analysis indicated that interleukin-5, interleukin-6, and granulocyte-colony stimulating factor were up-regulated as a function of age. The transgene PKC-epsilon was not detected in any of the affected organs (bone marrow, liver, spleen, lung) We suggest that overexpression of PKC-epsilon in the epidermis may lead to the induction of specific cytokines that may, in a paracrine mechanism, perturb normal hematopoiesis in bone marrow resulting in a granulocytic skew toward that of neutrophils and eosinophils. The susceptibility of PKC-epsilon transgenic mice to the induction of SCC and the spontaneous development of MPD are unrelated.

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