Journal Article

High cyclooxygenase 1 (COX-1) and cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) contents in mouse lung tumors

Alison K. Bauer, Lori D. Dwyer-Nield and Alvin M. Malkinson

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 21, issue 4, pages 543-550
Published in print April 2000 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online April 2000 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI:
High cyclooxygenase 1 (COX-1) and cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) contents in mouse lung tumors

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Mouse lung tumorigenesis is a convenient model for examining all stages of lung adenocarcinoma (AC) progression. Because enhanced cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) expression has been observed in advanced human AC, we investigated the intracellular concentrations of the two cyclooxygenases, cyclooxygenase 1 (COX-1) and COX-2, at different times after carcinogen administration to A/J mice. The concentrations of both proteins were much higher in urethane-induced adenomas and carcinomas compared with control A/J mouse lung tissue (P < 0.03 and P < 0.01 in adenomas and AC, respectively, for COX-1; P < 0.003 and P < 0.004 in adenomas and AC, respectively, for COX-2). Small benign tumors that arose spontaneously in 13-month-old mice also stained for COX-1 and COX-2, showing that this elevated enzyme content does not depend on chemical induction. COX-1 and COX-2 immunostaining was observed in normal bronchiolar and alveolar epithelia, alveolar macrophages and bronchiolar smooth muscle. This is the first report of the cellular distribution of COX-1 and COX-2 in murine lungs and the first in any species to demonstrate their co-localization. COX content in isolated bronchiolar Clara cells, a putative cell of tumor origin, was equal to that found in tumors, suggesting that the high enzyme content in neoplasms is due to their proportionally high concentration of these tumor precursor cells. Different patterns of COX-1 and COX-2 expression were observed in tumors of different growth patterns; only occasional small foci stained in solid adenomas, while most cells in papillary adenomas were immunoreactive. This staining pattern was also seen in adenocarcinomas, but some of the papillary portions also included focally stained and unstained regions. The continued expression during neoplastic progression of these specialized enzymes present in normal cells of tumor origin suggests their function in maintenance of the neoplastic state.

Keywords: AC, adenocarcinoma; COX, cyclooxygenase; NSAIDs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; NSCLC, non-small cell lung carcinoma; PG, prostaglandin.

Journal Article.  5288 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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