Aim: To investigate the patterns of cell proliferation in proximal and distal colons in normal rats and rats with 1,2-dimethylhydrazine (DMH) induced carcinogenesis using the thymidine analogue bromodeoxyuridine.
Methods: Colonic crypt cell proliferation was immunohistochemically detected using the anti-bromodeoxyuridine Bu20a monoclonal antibody.
Results: Marked regional differences were found in both groups. Total labelling index (LI) and proliferative zone size in both normal (8.65+/-0.34 vs 7.2+/-0.45, 27.74+/-1.07 vs 16.75+/-1.45) and DMH groups (13.13+/-0.46 vs 11.55+/-0.45, 39.60+/-1.32 vs 35.52+/-1.58) were significantly higher in distal than in proximal colon (P<0.05), although the number of cells per proximal crypt was greater (31.45+/-0.20 vs 34.45 +/-0.39, 42.68+/-0.53 vs 49.09+/-0.65, P<0.0001). Crypt length, total LI and proliferative zone size all increased in both proximal and distal regions of DMH rats compared to normal controls (P<0.0001). In DMH-treated rat colon a shift of labelled cells to higher crypt cell positions was demonstrated distally whilst a bi-directional shift was evident proximally (P<0.05).
Conclusion: Our results show that changes in cell proliferation patterns, as assessed by bromodeoxyuridine uptake, can act as a reliable intermediate marker of colonic cancer formation. Observed differences between proliferation patterns in distal and proximal colon may be associated with the higher incidence of tumors in the distal colon.