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Epigenetics. 2010 Jul 1;5(5):402-9. Epub 2010 Jul 1.

Superoxide dismutase 1 knockdown induces oxidative stress and DNA methylation loss in the prostate.

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  • 1Department of Urology and University of Wisconsin Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center, Madison, USA.


Increased oxidative stress and concordant DNA methylation changes are found during aging and in many malignant processes including prostate cancer. Increased oxidative stress has been shown to inhibit DNA methyltransferase in in vitro assays, but whether this occurs in vivo is unknown. To generate increased oxidative stress we utilized mice containing mutations in the CuZnSOD (Sod1) gene, a major superoxide dismutase in mammals. Increased 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine, an adduct indicating oxidative damage, was found in liver and prostate tissues at 2 and 12 mo Sod1 (+/-) mice compared to controls. Prostate tissues from Sod1 (+/-) mice demonstrated decreased weight at 2 mo compared to controls, but this difference was not significant at 12 mo. Histologic changes were not seen. Global DNA methylation was significantly decreased at 2 mo in the prostate in Sod1 (+/-) mice. 11p15 containing the epigenetically modulated insulin-like growth factor 2 (Igf2) and H19 genes, both which display oncogenic functions, may be particularly sensitive to oxidative stress. CpG island methylation at an intergenic CTCF binding site and the Igf2 P3 promoter was decreased in Sod1 mutants compared to controls. This is the first in vivo study to show that a deficiency of Sod1 leads to a decrease in DNA methylation. These studies indicate that increased oxidative stress, a factor implicated in neoplasia, can induce DNA hypomethylation in prostate tissues.

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