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      Overexpression of cyclooxygenase-2 is sufficient to induce tumorigenesis in transgenic mice.

      The Journal of Biological Chemistry

      Animals, Cyclooxygenase 2, Female, Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic, Isoenzymes, biosynthesis, genetics, Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental, enzymology, etiology, Mice, Mice, Transgenic, Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases

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          Abstract

          The cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 gene encodes an inducible prostaglandin synthase enzyme that is overexpressed in adenocarcinomas and other tumors. Deletion of the murine Cox-2 gene in Min mice reduced the incidence of intestinal tumors, suggesting that it is required for tumorigenesis. However, it is not known if overexpression of Cox-2 is sufficient to induce tumorigenic transformation. We have derived transgenic mice that overexpress the human COX-2 gene in the mammary glands using the murine mammary tumor virus promoter. The human Cox-2 mRNA and protein are expressed in mammary glands of female transgenic mice and were strongly induced during pregnancy and lactation. Female virgin Cox-2 transgenic mice showed precocious lobuloalveolar differentiation and enhanced expression of the beta-casein gene, which was inhibited by the Cox inhibitor indomethacin. Mammary gland involution was delayed in Cox-2 transgenic mice with a decrease in apoptotic index of mammary epithelial cells. Multiparous but not virgin females exhibited a greatly exaggerated incidence of focal mammary gland hyperplasia, dysplasia, and transformation into metastatic tumors. Cox-2-induced tumor tissue expressed reduced levels of the proapoptotic proteins Bax and Bcl-x(L) and an increase in the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2, suggesting that decreased apoptosis of mammary epithelial cells contributes to tumorigenesis. These data indicate that enhanced Cox-2 expression is sufficient to induce mammary gland tumorigenesis. Therefore, inhibition of Cox-2 may represent a mechanism-based chemopreventive approach for carcinogenesis.

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          Journal
          11278747
          10.1074/jbc.M010787200

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