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Keywords:

  • CA125;
  • Muc16;
  • mucin;
  • ovarian cancer

Abstract Cancer antigen 125 (CA125) is an antigen that is elevated in the serum of women with ovarian carcinoma, but can also be detected in serum from healthy women. CA125 is expressed in 80% of human ovarian cancers, as well as in normal adult endometrium, lung, and amnion. The gene encoding human CA125 was identified as MUCIN16 (MUC16). A database search identified the orthologous mouse gene, Muc16. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and RNA in situ hybridization detected Muc16 transcripts in the surface epithelia of the upper respiratory tract, the mesothelia lining body cavities and the internal organs, as well as male and female reproductive organs, and the amnion. Antibodies raised against human MUC16 do not recognize mouse MUC16. Therefore, a rabbit anti-mouse polyclonal antibody against recombinant mouse MUC16 was generated. Immunohistochemistry using this anti-mouse MUC16 antibody revealed expression in the luminal epithelia of the trachea, the epithelia of the secretory glands in the oral cavity, the surface of the olfactory epithelia, as well as mesothelial cells lining body cavities (i.e., pleural, peritoneal, and pelvic cavities), and male and female reproductive organs. In addition, MUC16 protein was detected in other cell types, such as the surface epithelia of the cochlear duct and chief cells of the stomach, suggesting multiple roles for MUC16. In mouse serous epithelial ovarian cancer, MUC16 protein was detected at the apical surface of well-differentiated tumors, but not poorly differentiated tumors. These findings document the presence of MUC16 in murine ovarian cancer and in normal tissues and provide a foundation for future functional studies.