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Cancer Res. 1994 Dec 15;54(24):6402-6.

Nodularin, a potent inhibitor of protein phosphatases 1 and 2A, is a new environmental carcinogen in male F344 rat liver.

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Saitama Cancer Center Research Institute, Japan.


Nodularin and microcystin-LR are cyanobacterial toxins and environmental hazards. Nodularin inhibits protein phosphatases 1 and 2A with the same potency as does microcystin-LR, which has recently been identified as a potent tumor promoter in rat liver. Our results suggested that nodularin is also a new tumor promoter in rat liver. A two-stage carcinogenesis experiment in rat liver initiated with diethylnitrosamine and without partial hepatectomy revealed that nodularin stimulated glutathione S-transferase placental form-positive foci in rat liver more effectively than did microcystin-LR, and that nodularin alone induced glutathione S-transferase placental form-positive foci as well as did diethylnitrosamine alone. Thus, nodularin itself is a new liver carcinogen, and microcystin-LR is a tumor promoter rather than a carcinogen. Nodularin induced hyperphosphorylation of cytokeratin peptides 8 and 18 in primary cultured rat hepatocytes 20% more effectively than did microcystin-LR, suggesting that nodularin penetrates more easily into the hepatocytes than does microcystin-LR. Nodularin up-regulated induction of c-jun, jun-B,jun-D,c-fos,fos-B, and fra-1 mRNA transcripts in rat liver after i.p. administration, and the accumulation of the mRNA transcripts was sustained for over 9 h after treatment. The environmental hazards of cyanobacterial toxins are discussed in relation to human primary liver cancer in Qidong county in the People's Republic of China. Our results support this hypothesis and indicate the need for prevention measures against cyanobacterial toxins.

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