Serum thioredoxin reductase is highly increased in mice with hepatocellular carcinoma and its activity is restrained by several mechanisms

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Abstract

Increased thioredoxin reductase (TrxR) levels in serum were recently identified as possible prognostic markers for human prostate cancer or hepatocellular carcinoma. We had earlier shown that serum levels of TrxR protein are very low in healthy mice, but can in close correlation to alanine aminotransferase (ALT) increase more than 200-fold upon chemically induced liver damage. We also found that enzymatic TrxR activity in serum is counteracted by a yet unidentified oxidase activity in serum. In the present study we found that mice carrying H22 hepatocellular carcinoma tumors present highly increased levels of TrxR in serum, similarly to that reported in human patients. In this case ALT levels did not parallel those of TrxR. We also discovered here that the TrxR-antagonistic oxidase activity in serum is due to the presence of quiescin Q6 sulfhydryl oxidase 1 (QSOX1). We furthermore found that the chemotherapeutic agents cisplatin or auranofin, when given systemically to H22 tumor bearing mice, can further inhibit TrxR activities in serum. The TrxR serum activity was also inhibited by endogenous electrophilic inhibitors, found to increase in tumor-bearing mice and to include protoporphyrin IX (PpIX) and 4-hydroxynonenal (HNE). Thus, hepatocellular carcinoma triggers high levels of serum TrxR that are not paralleled by ALT, and TrxR enzyme activity in serum is counteracted by several different mechanisms. The physiological role of TrxR in serum, if any, as well as its potential value as a prognostic marker for tumor progression, needs to be studied further.

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