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J Biol Chem. 1997 Feb 7;272(6):3707-14.

Induction of cyclooxygenase-2 expression by peroxisome proliferators and non-tetradecanoylphorbol 12,13-myristate-type tumor promoters in immortalized mouse liver cells.

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Department of Genetic and Cellular Toxicology, Merck Research Laboratories, West Point, Pennsylvania 19486, USA.


Increased expression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), the rate-limiting enzyme in prostaglandin synthesis, has been associated with growth regulation and carcinogenesis in several systems. COX-2 is known to be induced by cytokines and the skin tumor promoter 12-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-myristate (TPA). In the present study, we investigated the effects of several non-TPA-type tumor promoters on COX-2 expression in immortalized mouse liver cells. Specifically, we tested peroxisome proliferators (PPs), which are rodent liver tumor promoters that cause gross alterations in cellular lipid metabolism, the rodent liver tumor promoter phenobarbital, and the skin tumor promoters okadaic acid and thapsigargin. The PPs Wy-14643, mono-ethylhexyl phthalate, clofibrate, ciprofibrate ethyl ester, and eicosatetraynoic acid each caused large increases in COX-2 mRNA and protein, with maximal expression seen approximately 10 h after treatment of quiescent cells. COX-2 expression was also induced by thapsigargin, okadaic acid, and calcium ionophore A23187, but not by phenobarbital or the steroid PP dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate. Induction of COX-2 expression generally resulted in increased synthesis of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). However, the PPs caused little or no increase in PGE2 levels, and they inhibited serum-induced PGE2 synthesis. Unlike non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, the PPs do not directly inhibit cyclooxygenase enzyme activity in vitro. Thus, PPs regulate prostaglandin metabolism via both positive (COX-2 induction) and inhibitory mechanisms. In summary, the strong induction of COX-2 expression by PPs, thapsigargin, and okadaic acid suggests a possible role for COX-2 in the growth regulatory activity of these non-TPA-type tumor promoters.

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