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Toxicol Pathol. 2005;33(6):684-94.

Early epidermal destruction with subsequent epidermal hyperplasia is a unique feature of the papilloma-independent squamous cell carcinoma phenotype in PKCepsilon overexpressing transgenic mice.

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Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.


Protein kinase C epsilon (PKCepsilon) overexpressing transgenic (PKCepsilon Tg) mice develop papilloma-independent squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) elicited by 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA) tumor initiation and 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) tumor promotion. We examined whether epidermal cell turnover kinetics was altered during the development of SCC in PKCepsilon Tg mice. Dorsal skin samples were fixed for histological examination. A single application of TPA resulted in extensive infiltration of polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) into the epidermis at 24 h after TPA treatment in PKCepsilon Tg mice while wild-type (WT) mouse skin showed focal infiltration by PMNs. Complete epidermal necrosis was observed at 48 h in PKCepsilon Tg mice only; at 72 h, epidermal cell regeneration beginning from hair follicles was observed in PKCepsilon Tg mice. Since the first TPA treatment to DMBA-initiated PKCepsilon Tg mouse skin led to epidermal destruction analogous to skin abrasion, we propose the papilloma-independent phenotype may be explained by death of initiated interfollicular cells originally destined to become papillomas. Epidermal destruction did not occur after multiple doses of TPA, presumably reflecting adaptation of epidermis to chronic TPA treatment. Prolonged hyperplasia in the hair follicle may result in the early neoplastic lesions originally described by Jansen et al. (2001) by expanding initiated cells in the hair follicles resulting in the subsequent development of SCC.

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