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Cancer Res. 1994 Dec 15;54(24):6434-40.

Ectopic vasopressin expression in MMTV-Wnt-1 transgenic mice modifies mammary tumor differentiation and pathology.

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Neuropeptide Laboratory, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Republic of Singapore.


A transgenic mouse model has been developed to test the involvement of ectopic neuropeptide production as a secondary factor in cancer. Mice bearing a mouse mammary tumor virus-vasopressin (MMTV-VP) fusion transgene synthesized authentic vasopressin in mammary ducts and alveoli, but this had no effect on mammary gland development and growth. Mice bearing the MMTV-VP transgene were then mated with mice bearing the MMTV-Wnt-1 transgene to produce bitransgenic animals. Two types of mammary tumor develop in MMTV-Wnt-1 mice; type A mammary adenocarcinomas are uniform with fine acinar structure composed of small epithelial cells arranged to form round cavities and elongated tubules, while adenocarcinoma type B tumors have acinar areas, cystic spaces filled with blood or fluid, intracystic papillary projections, and cords as well as sheets of cells. Compared to the MMTV-Wnt-1 mice, the bitransgenic animals developed proportionally less type B tumors. Further, type B mammary adenocarcinomas from bitransgenic mice exhibited increased proliferation and growth, as judged by mitotic index and argyrophilic nucleolar organizer region counts, compared to type B tumors from MMTV-Wnt-1 mice. These data provide evidence that ectopic neuropeptide production can modulate the development of tumors in vivo.

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