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

Dose and time dependence of the cellular phenotype in rat hepatic preneoplasia and neoplasia induced in stop experiments by oral exposure to N-nitrosomorpholine.

The dose and time dependence of the cellular phenotype in preneoplastic and neoplastic liver lesions was evaluated quantitatively in groups of male Sprague-Dawley rats exposed for 7 weeks to 0, 12 and 24 mg/kg body wt of N-nitrosomorpholine (NNM) and studied at different time points up to 80 weeks after withdrawal of NNM (stop model). NNM-treated rats showed a dose- and time-dependent increase in the total number and volume of preneoplastic foci of altered hepatocytes (FAH) and in the incidence of hepatocellular adenomas (HCA) and carcinomas (HCC) at both dose levels, compared with the untreated controls. After stopping treatment with 12 mg/kg body wt, the well-known sequence of cellular changes leading from glycogenotic clear and clear/acidophilic cell foci to mixed and diffusely basophilic cell populations poor in glycogen was found. In contrast, at the higher NNM dose level (24 mg/kg) predominantly mixed and diffusely basophilic cell foci appeared immediately after cessation of treatment, but their number rapidly declined up to 13 weeks after withdrawal. At the same time, there was a reciprocal increase in the number of the less altered clear/acidophilic cell foci, indicating an early reversion-linked phenotypic instability of FAH. However, in spite of this reversion higher numbers of mixed and diffusely basophilic cell foci were retained after treatment with 24 compared to 12 mg/kg of NNM at all time points studied, and there was even a slow additional increase in the number of these types of FAH 20 weeks after withdrawal of NNM. At both dose levels, the volume fraction of the persistent mixed cell foci correlated positively with the incidence of HCA and HCC, suggesting that this phenotype of FAH represents a direct precursor of the neoplastic lesions. Tigroid cell foci, which appeared most frequently after treatment with the lower dose of NNM, were not integrated into the predominant sequence of cellular changes leading to HCC, but they may represent an intermediate stage in a side lineage of this sequence, endowed with the potential to progress at least to HCA. Our results show that reversion-linked phenotypic instability of FAH occurs mainly after high dose treatment, possibly resulting from rapid adaptive cellular responses to the primary carcinogenic lesion(s) which may be fixed by genetic or epigenetic mechanisms. In contrast, progression-linked phenotypic instability of FAH is a slow process developing in a dose- and time-dependent manner at all dose levels leading to hepatic neoplasia.[1]


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