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Am J Pathol. 2011 Aug;179(2):1050-60. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2011.05.006. Epub 2011 Jun 2.

Promotion of liver and lung tumorigenesis in DEN-treated cytoglobin-deficient mice.

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Department of Hepatology, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka City University, Osaka, Japan.


Cytoglobin (Cygb) is a recently discovered vertebrate globin with molecular characteristics that are similar to myoglobin. To study the biological function of Cygb in vivo, we generated Cygb knockout mice and investigated their susceptibility to N,N-diethylnitrosamine (DEN)-induced tumorigenesis. Four-week-old male mice were administered DEN in drinking water at a dose of 25 ppm for 25 weeks or 0.05 ppm for 36 weeks. Cygb deficiency promoted the DEN-induced development of liver and lung tumors. All Cygb(+/-) and Cygb(-/-) mice treated with 25-ppm DEN exhibited liver tumors, compared with 44.4% of their wild-type counterparts. Lung tumors were present only in Cygb-deficient mice. More than 40% of Cygb(-/-) mice developed liver and lung tumors at the nontoxic dose of DEN (0.05 ppm), which did not induce tumors in wild-type mice. Cygb loss was associated with increased cancer cell proliferation, elevated extracellular signal-regulated kinase and Akt activation, overexpression of IL-1β, IL-6, Tnfα, and Tgfβ3 mRNAs, and hepatic collagen accumulation. Cygb-deficient mice also exhibited increased nitrotyrosine formation and dysregulated expression of cancer-related genes (cyclin D2, p53, Pak1, Src, Cdkn2a, and Cebpa). These results suggest that Cygb deficiency induces susceptibility to cancer development in the liver and lungs of mice exposed to DEN. Thus, globins such as Cygb will shed new light on the biological features of organ carcinogenesis.

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