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Exp Mol Pathol. 2006 Apr;80(2):109-18. Epub 2006 Jan 18.

Mallory body forming cells express the preneoplastic hepatocyte phenotype.

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Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Department of Pathology, Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, 1000 W. Carson St., Torrance, CA 90502, USA.


The livers of mice fed diethyl 1,4-dihydro-2,4,6,-trimethyl-3,5-pyridinedicarboxylate (DDC) for 10 weeks formed Mallory bodies (MBs) in clusters of hepatocytes. Mice withdrawn from DDC for 9 months developed liver tumors. In the present study, the phenotype of the hepatocytes that formed MBs and tumors was characterized. Immunoperoxidase and immunofluorescent stains were done on the DDC-treated mouse livers, as well as mouse liver tumors and a human hepatocellular carcinoma that formed MBs. Antibodies to markers of hepatocellular neoplasms such as alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), ubiquitin B (UbB) fatty acid synthase (FAS) and alpha2 macroglobulin (A2m) stained the MB forming cells positive. Quantitative real-time RT-PCR assay was used to measure AFP, UbB, FAS and GCP-3 A2m mRNA levels in the livers of DDC fed mice and the DDC-induced mouse liver tumors. The FAS, UbB, GPC-3 and AFP mRNA levels were significantly increased in the MB forming liver cells. The in vitro model of MB formation was used to correlate MB formation with gene and protein expression. Primary cultures of DDC-primed hepatocytes were compared with the controls. A2m and UbB expression increased in the primary cultures of DDC-primed hepatocytes when MBs formed. Thus, the tumor markers used to identify hepatocellular carcinoma were upregulated in cells forming MBs in vivo and in vitro, suggesting that MB forming cells express preneoplastic phenotypic features.

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