A differential susceptibility phenotype to the organotropic colon carcinogen azoxymethane (AOM) has been described in mice. The following studies were undertaken to test the hypothesis that intraspecific susceptibility can be accounted for by the specific complement of genetic alterations acquired by precancerous colon lesions referred to as aberrant crypt foci (ACF). As an initial approach to this question, mutations in codons 12 and 13 of the Ki-ras proto-oncogene were assessed in ACF, normal-appearing AOM-treated colonic epithelium, and tumors from A/J and SWR/J (susceptible) as well as AKR/J (resistant) mice. Four-week-old male mice were injected intraperitonealy, with AOM once a week for a total of 6 wk and killed 4 and 24 wk after the last injection. DNA was isolated from microdissected tissue, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-amplified products of Ki-ras exon 1 (codons 12 and 13) were directly sequenced from microdissected tissues. At 4 wk after AOM exposure, there was no significant difference in the frequency of Ki-ras activation (20-33%) between the three strains. Ki-ras mRNA expression was also evaluated by reverse transcription (RT)-PCR analysis and was comparably reduced (40-50%) in all three strains at the 4 wk time point. However, Ki-ras expression returned to normal by 24 wk after treatment. Finally, to gain further insight into the molecular pathogenesis underlying this experimental tumor model, analysis of the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) protein within the colonic epithelium was undertaken by using an immunohistochemical approach. Although the APC protein was lost to a varying extent in tumors from A/J and SWR/J mice, the full-length form of the protein was still present in precancerous ACF isolated from each of the three strains, regardless of the degree of dysplasia of the lesion. A further molecular genetic analyses of ACF will be required to gain a more complete understanding of the molecular basis of tumor susceptibility phenotype in this murine model.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.