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Reduced expression of glutathione S-transferase Yb2 during progression of chemically induced hepatocellular carcinomas in fischer 344 rats



We followed the expression of several glutathione S-transferase subunits in altered foci, liver neoplasms and metastases produced in male Fischer 344 rats by a modified Solt-Farber protocol, to determine whether components of the resistant phenotype are lost during neoplastic progression. At 6 mo after initiation, altered foci and persistent nodules displayed increased immunohistochemical expression of glutathione S-transferase subunits Yf (π-class), Ya (α-class) and Yb1 (μ-class) in comparison with normal or surrounding liver tissue. However, although most altered foci exhibited little change in glutathione S-transferase Yb2 (μ-class) subunit expression, 5% of Yf-positive foci and nodules were partially or completely deficient in Yb2 expression. At 12 and 18 mo after initiation, most grossly visible hepatocellular tumors retained induced expression of glutathione S-transferase subunits Yf, Ya and Yb1, but 63% of the carcinomas, 88% of the primary metastatic carcinomas and 94% of the pulmonary metastases were deficient in Yb2 expression. These differences in glutathione S-transferase subunit expression were confirmed by quantitative analysis by reverse-phase HPLC of S-hexylglutathione affinity-purified glutathione S-transferases from advanced tumors. Cytosolic glutathione S-transferase activity for trans-4-phenyl-3-buten-2-one in advanced tumors ranged from 42% to 66% of the activity in matched surrounding liver, whereas glutathione S-transferase activities for 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene were increased by 140% to 161%. These studies demonstrate that progression of hepatocellular carcinomas in the resistant hepatocyte model of carcinogenesis in which several glutathione S-transferase subunits are induced is associated with the loss of a major constitutive μ-class hepatic glutathione S-transferase. Although the mechanism and role of the reduction or loss of glutathione S-transferase Yb2 during malignant progression are unknown, we propose that loss of glutathione S-transferase Yb2 in some preneoplastic populations of hepatocytes might be conducive to further DNA damage by presently unknown environmental or endogenous compounds that are normally detoxified preferentially by glutathione S-transferase isoenzymes containing this subunit. (Hepatology 1994;20:149-158.)

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