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Convergent etiology of Eker rat and human uterine leiomyoma

[email protected] Texas Medical Center
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  • Biology
  • Molecular|Biology
  • Cell|Health Sciences
  • Oncology


The Eker rat model has allowed researchers the unique opportunity to study the tumorigenesis of spontaneously occurring uterine leiomyoma. Animals in this line harbor a germline mutation in the tuberous sclerosis complex-2 (Tsc-2) tumor suppressor gene and develop uterine leiomyomas at a rate of ∼65%. Primary leiomyomas obtained from humans and Eker rats along with Eker-derived leiomyoma cell lines were used in studies described herein to determine the effect of PPARγ ligand treatment on the proliferation of this cell type and to determine the role of tuberin and p27Kip1 in the etiology of this tumor type. Treatment of leiomyoma cells of human and rat origin with PPARγ-activating compounds resulted in decreased proliferation. Additionally, PPARγ ligands inhibited estrogen-dependent gene transactivation in Eker-derived leiomyoma cells suggesting that nuclear receptor cross-talk may exist between PPAR and the ER and may be responsible for the inhibition of proliferation in this cell type. Loss of tuberin, the product of the TSC-2 gene, is associated with Eker rat leiomyoma development while the role of this tumor suppressor in human leiomyoma development is unknown. Data herein show that tuberin expression is diminished in 25% of human leiomyomas tested. Additionally, we observed diminished p27 Kip1 expression in 80% of human uterine leiomyomas compared to normal myometrium. Interestingly, the loss of tuberin expression in human leiomyoma was associated with cytoplasmic p27Kip1 accumulation in this cell type. Furthermore, tuberin-null Eker rat leiomyomas and derived cell lines had predominantly cytoplasmic p27Kip1 compared to tuberin-expressing normal myometrium. Taken together, our data show that human and Eker rat leiomyoma proliferation is inhibited upon PPARγ treatment and that the etiology of human and Eker rat leiomyoma converge at loss of p27Kip1 function. Furthermore, our data indicate that the loss of p27 Kip1 function is mediated by loss of expression (in 80% of human leiomyoma) or cytoplasmic localization potentially resulting from the loss of tuberin. ^

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