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BMC Cancer. 2018 May 22;18(1):582. doi: 10.1186/s12885-018-4445-z.

Alterations in NO- and PGI2- dependent function in aorta in the orthotopic murine model of metastatic 4T1 breast cancer: relationship with pulmonary endothelial dysfunction and systemic inflammation.

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Jagiellonian Centre for Experimental Therapeutics (JCET), Jagiellonian University, Bobrzynskiego 14, 30-348, Krakow, Poland.
Department of Experimental Oncology, Hirszfeld Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy, Polish Academy of Sciences, R. Weigla St. 12, 53-114, Wroclaw, Poland.
Department of Molecular Biophysics, Faculty of Biotechnology, Jagiellonian University, Gronostajowa 7, 30-387, Krakow, Poland.
Jagiellonian Centre for Experimental Therapeutics (JCET), Jagiellonian University, Bobrzynskiego 14, 30-348, Krakow, Poland.
Chair of Pharmacology, Jagiellonian University, Medical College, Grzegorzecka 16, PL 31-531, Krakow, Poland.



Patients with cancer develop endothelial dysfunction and subsequently display a higher risk of cardiovascular events. The aim of the present work was to examine changes in nitric oxide (NO)- and prostacyclin (PGI2)-dependent endothelial function in the systemic conduit artery (aorta), in relation to the formation of lung metastases and to local and systemic inflammation in a murine orthotopic model of metastatic breast cancer.


BALB/c female mice were orthotopically inoculated with 4T1 breast cancer cells. Development of lung metastases, lung inflammation, changes in blood count, systemic inflammatory response (e.g. SAA, SAP and IL-6), as well as changes in NO- and PGI2-dependent endothelial function in the aorta, were examined 2, 4, 5 and 6 weeks following cancer cell transplantation.


As early as 2 weeks following transplantation of breast cancer cells, in the early metastatic stage, lungs displayed histopathological signs of inflammation, NO production was impaired and nitrosylhemoglobin concentration in plasma was decreased. After 4 to 6 weeks, along with metastatic development, progressive leukocytosis and systemic inflammation (as seen through increased SAA, SAP, haptoglobin and IL-6 plasma concentrations) were observed. Six weeks following cancer cell inoculation, but not earlier, endothelial dysfunction in aorta was detected; this involved a decrease in basal NO production and a decrease in NO-dependent vasodilatation, that was associated with a compensatory increase in cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2)- derived PGI2 production.


In 4 T1 metastatic breast cancer in mice early pulmonary metastasis was correlated with lung inflammation, with an early decrease in pulmonary as well as systemic NO availability. Late metastasis was associated with robust, cancer-related, systemic inflammation and impairment of NO-dependent endothelial function in the aorta that was associated with compensatory upregulation of the COX-2-derived PGI2 pathway.


4T1; Endothelial dysfunction; Inflammation; Metastasis

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