Research Paper Volume 13, Issue 17 pp 21155—21190
Liver-specific over-expression of Cripto-1 in transgenic mice promotes hepatocyte proliferation and deregulated expression of hepatocarcinogenesis-related genes and signaling pathways
- 1 Cancer Research Institute, School of Basic Medical Science, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou 510515, China
- 2 Institute of Comparative Medicine and Laboratory Animal Center, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou 510515, China
- 3 Department of Hematology, Central Hospital of Xuhui District, Shanghai 200030, China
- 4 The Third People’s Hospital of Kunming (The Sixth Affiliated Hospital of Dali University), Kunming 650041, China
- 5 Department of Physiology, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Guilin Medical University, Guilin 541004, China
- 6 Department of Thoracic Surgery, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical University (Yunnan Cancer Hospital, Yunnan Cancer Center), Kunming 650118, China
- 7 Department of Gastrointestinal Oncology, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical University (Yunnan Cancer Hospital, Yunnan Cancer Center), Kunming 650118, China
Received: February 11, 2021 Accepted: July 13, 2021 Published: September 13, 2021https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.203402
How to Cite
Copyright: © 2021 Liu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
In this study, we investigated the role of embryonic gene Cripto-1 (CR-1) in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) using hepatocyte-specific CR-1-overexpressing transgenic mice. The expression of truncated 1.7-kb CR-1 transcript (SF-CR-1) was significantly higher than the full-length 2.0-kb CR-1 transcript (FL-CR-1) in a majority of HCC tissues and cell lines. Moreover, CR-1 mRNA and protein levels were significantly higher in HCC tissues than adjacent normal liver tissues. Hepatocyte-specific over-expression of CR-1 in transgenic mice enhanced hepatocyte proliferation after 2/3 partial hepatectomy (2/3 PHx). CR-1 over-expression significantly increased in vivo xenograft tumor growth of HCC cells in nude mice and in vitro HCC cell proliferation, migration, and invasion. CR-1 over-expression in the transgenic mouse livers deregulated HCC-related signaling pathways such as AKT, Wnt/β-catenin, Stat3, MAPK/ERK, JNK, TGF-β and Notch, as well as expression of HCC-related genes such as CD5L, S100A8, S100A9, Timd4, Orm2, Orm3, PDK4, DMBT1, G0S2, Plk2, Plk3, Gsta1 and Gsta2. However, histological signs of precancerous lesions, hepatocyte dysplasia or HCC formation were not observed in the livers of 3-, 6- or 8-month-old hepatocyte-specific CR-1-overexpressing transgenic mice. These findings demonstrate that liver-specific CR-1 overexpression in transgenic mice deregulates signaling pathways and genes associated with HCC.