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Sci Rep. 2016 May 5;6:24990. doi: 10.1038/srep24990.

Absence of cytoglobin promotes multiple organ abnormalities in aged mice.

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Department of Hepatology, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka City University, Osaka, Japan.
Department of Medical Nutrition, Graduate School of Human Life Science, Osaka City University, Osaka, Japan.
Department of Pathology, Takatsuki General Hospital, Takatsuki, Osaka, Japan.
PhoenixBio Co. Ltd., Hiroshima, Japan.


Cytoglobin (Cygb) was identified in hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) and pericytes of all organs; however, the effects of Cygb on cellular functions remain unclear. Here, we report spontaneous and age-dependent malformations in multiple organs of Cygb(-/-) mice. Twenty-six percent of young Cygb(-/-) mice (<1 year old) showed heart hypertrophy, cystic disease in the kidney or ovary, loss of balance, liver fibrosis and lymphoma. Furthermore, 71.3% (82/115) of aged Cygb(-/-) mice (1-2 years old) exhibited abnormalities, such as heart hypertrophy and cancer development in multiple organs; by contrast, 5.8% (4/68) of aged wild-type (WT) mice had abnormalities (p < 0.0001). Interestingly, serum and urine analysis demonstrated that the concentration of nitric oxide metabolites increased significantly in Cygb(-/-) mice, resulting in an imbalance in the oxidative stress and antioxidant defence system that was reversed by N(G)-monomethyl-L-arginine treatment. A senescent phenotype and evidence of DNA damage were found in primary HSCs and the liver of aged Cygb(-/-) mice. Moreover, compared with HSC(+/+), HSC(-/-) showed high expression of Il-6 and chemokine mRNA when cocultured with mouse Hepa 1-6 cells. Thus, the absence of Cygb in pericytes provokes organ abnormalities, possibly via derangement of the nitric oxide and antioxidant defence system and through accelerated cellular senescence.

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