xCT deficiency accelerates chemically induced tumorigenesis

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Apr 6;107(14):6436-41. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0912827107. Epub 2010 Mar 22.


During the course of inflammation and its resolution, macrophages are exposed to various cytotoxic materials, including reactive oxygen species. Thus, macrophages require a protective machinery against oxidative stress to survive at the inflammatory site. Here, we showed that xCT, a component of transport system x(c)(-), was significantly up-regulated in activated infiltrating cells, including macrophages and neutrophils at the inflammatory site. System x(c)(-) mediates the uptake of extracellular L-cystine and is consequently responsible for maintenance of intracellular glutathione levels. We established a loss-of-function mouse mutant line of xCT by N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea mutagenesis. Macrophages from xCT(mu/mu) mice showed cell death in association with the excessive release of high mobility group box chromosomal protein 1 upon stimulation with LPS, suggesting that xCT deficiency causes unremitting inflammation because of the impaired survival of activated macrophages at the inflammatory site. Subcutaneous injection of 3-methylcholanthrene (3-MCA) induced the generation of fibrosarcoma in association with inflammation. When 3-MCA was injected s.c. into mice, xCT mRNA was up-regulated in situ. In xCT(mu/mu) mice, inflammatory cytokines (such as IL-1beta and TNFalpha) were overexpressed, and the generation of 3-MCA-induced fibrosarcoma was accelerated. These results clearly indicate that the defect of the protective system against oxidative stress impaired survival of activated macrophages and subsequently enhanced tumorigenecity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Transport System y+ / deficiency
  • Amino Acid Transport System y+ / immunology
  • Amino Acid Transport System y+ / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cell Death
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / chemically induced
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / immunology*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / metabolism*
  • Fibrosarcoma / chemically induced
  • Fibrosarcoma / immunology
  • Fibrosarcoma / metabolism*
  • Fibrosarcoma / pathology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Interleukin-1beta / immunology
  • Methylcholanthrene
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / immunology
  • Up-Regulation


  • Amino Acid Transport System y+
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • Slc7a11 protein, mouse
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Methylcholanthrene