2-Amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP), the most abundant food-derived mutagenic/carcinogenic heterocyclic amine (HCA), has attracted particular attention as a probable human colon carcinogen. Some studies have shown that PhIP administered in the post-initiation phase is able to enhance rat colon carcinogenesis remarkably. To determine whether this genotoxicant leaves a DNA footprint in colon carcinogenesis, 6-week-old male F344 rats were first subcutaneously injected with azoxymethane (AOM) and then continuously treated with various doses (0–200 ppm) of PhIP added to their diet. Animals were killed at week 36 for histopathological examination, and colonic adenocarcinomas derived from animals receiving 0, 50 and 200 ppm PhIP were subjected to a novel three-dimensional (3D)-microarray and real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis. A total of five candidate genes were identified in adenocarcinomas following 200 ppm of PhIP and AOM initiation, with a dose-dependent increment. Among them, Stat1 (signal transducer and activator of transcription 1) and VEGFc (vascular endothelial growth factor c) demonstrated statistically significant upregulation by real-time RT-PCR. In addition, HSP90 (heat shock protein 90) and VEGFa showed a non-significant tendency to increase. In summary, overexpression of Stat1, VEGF and other genes could be involved in PhIP-enhanced colon tumorigenesis in the post-initiation phase.
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