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PLoS One. 2013 Apr 12;8(4):e57833. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057833. Print 2013.

Development of lymphoproliferative diseases by hypoxia inducible factor-1alpha is associated with prolonged lymphocyte survival.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Saga University, Saga, Japan.


Hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha (HIF-1 alpha) plays an essential role in the regulation of various genes associated with low oxygen consumption. Elevated expression of HIF-1alpha has been reported to be associated with tumor progression, invasion and metastasis in many cancers. To investigate the role of HIF-1alpha in tumor development and metastasis, we established transgenic mice constitutively expressing HIF1A gene under regulation of the cytomegalovirus gene promoter. Although HIF-1alpha protein levels varied among organs, expression of HIF1A mRNA in most organs gradually increased in an age-dependent manner. The transgenic mice showed no gross morphological abnormality up to 8 weeks after birth, although they subsequently developed tumors in the lymphoid, lung, and breast; the most prominent tumor was lymphoma appearing in the intestinal mucosa and intra-mesenchymal tissues. The prevalence of tumors reached 80% in 13 months after birth. The constitution of lymphocyte populations in the transgenic mice did not differ from that in wild-type mice. However, lymphocytes of the transgenic mice revealed prolonged survival under long-term culture conditions and revealed increased resistance to cytotoxic etoposide. These results suggest that HIF-1alpha itself is not oncogenic but it may play an important role in lymphomagenesis mediated through the prolonged survival of lymphocytes in this transgenic mouse model.

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