Effects of 17β-Estradiol on Colorectal Cancer Development after Azoxymethane/Dextran Sulfate Sodium Treatment of Ovariectomized Mice

Chin-Hee Song, Nayoung Kim, Sun Min Lee, Ryoung Hee Nam, Soo In Choi, So Ra Kang, Eun Shin, Dong Ho Lee, Ha-Na Lee, Young-Joon Surh
Biochemical Pharmacology 2019 April 11
Estrogen is known to have a protective effect in colorectal cancer (CRC) development. Previously, we reported the anti-inflammatory and antitumorigenic effects of 17β-estradiol (E2) in azoxymethane (AOM)/dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-treated male mice. The aim of this study was to investigate whether ovariectomy in a female AOM/DSS mouse model increases colorectal tumorigenesis and whether tumorigenesis is reduced by estrogen supplementation after ovariectomy. Clinical symptoms and histological severity of colitis and the levels of inflammatory mediators were evaluated in the colon of AOM/DSS-treated ovariectomized (OVX) mice. The levels of E2, myeloperoxidase (MPO), and NF-κB-dependent cytokines (interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-6) were measured by ELISA. Furthermore, quantitative real-time (qRT) PCR and Western blot analysis were performed. Ovariectomy did not aggravate AOM/DSS-induced colitis at 2 weeks. At weeks 10 and 16, ovariectomy significantly increased tumor number and incidence rate in only the proximal colon after AOM/DSS treatment (F_AOM/DSS vs OVX_AOM/DSS), and these increases were significantly reduced by E2 supplementation (OVX_AOM/DSS vs OVX_AOM/DSS/E2). However, ovariectomy did not affect CRC development in the distal colon (F_AOM/DSS vs OVX_AOM/DSS). At week 2, E2 administration to AOM/DSS-treated OVX mice attenuated the histological severity of colitis by decreasing the protein and/or mRNA levels of estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) and NF-κB-related mediators (i.e., COX-2, TNF-α, and IL-6) and by enhancing estrogen receptor beta (ERβ) and nuclear Nrf2 protein expression and the mRNA expression of related antioxidant enzyme genes (i.e., HO-1, GCLC, GCLM, and NQO1). Endogenous estrogen in females protects against the development of proximal colon cancer, and exogenous E2 replacement in OVX female mice showed protective effects against AOM/DSS-induced colitis and carcinogenesis. The mechanism could involve modulating ERs-, NF-κB- and Nrf2-mediated pathways.

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