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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Benzo[a]pyrene carcinogenicity is lost in mice lacking the aryl hydrocarbon receptor.

The contribution of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) in induction of a battery of xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes has been studied extensively. However, no direct proof has been obtained that it plays a role in modulating carcinogenesis. To address the question of whether AhR is required for tumor induction, we have investigated the response of AhR-deficient mice to benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P), a widely distributed environmental carcinogen. B[a]P treatment induced expression of the cytochrome P450 gene Cyp1a1 in the skin and liver of AhR-positive mice bearing +/+ and +/- genotypes and did not induce expression of the cytochrome P450 gene Cyp1a1 in AhR-null mice in either skin or liver. In contrast, Cyp1a2 gene expression was positive in liver irrespective of the presence or absence of the AhR gene, or B[a]P treatment, although its inducibility was lost in the AhR(-/-) mouse. All AhR-positive male mice of both +/+ and +/- genotypes that received subcutaneous injection of B[a]P (2 mg) on the first and the eighth days had developed subcutaneous tumors at the site of injection at the end of the 18-week experiment. In contrast, no tumors were apparent in any of the AhR-deficient mice. Likewise, topical application of B[a]P (200 microg) at weekly intervals to the skin of female mice for 25 weeks produced skin tumors only in the AhR-positive mice. Thus the carcinogenic action of B[a]P may be determined primarily by AhR, a transcriptional regulator of the gene for CYP1A1. The results of the present study provide direct evidence that AhR is involved in carcinogenesis.[1]


  1. Benzo[a]pyrene carcinogenicity is lost in mice lacking the aryl hydrocarbon receptor. Shimizu, Y., Nakatsuru, Y., Ichinose, M., Takahashi, Y., Kume, H., Mimura, J., Fujii-Kuriyama, Y., Ishikawa, T. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2000) [Pubmed]
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